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home : sports : sports
February 27, 2020

12/26/2019 2:04:00 PM
Sickness costs 'Cats points vs Rapids

Grand Rapids 98, Chisago Lakes 82
Swimming  is a tough sport to keep competitors healthy. There’s the inherent risks with any athletic competition, but then to add to those, there always seems to be some virus going around the pools with the mix of freezing cold weather outside, the humidity in the pools and the drastic changes in temps.

Chisago Lakes was feeling the effects of that with some key swimmers out due to illness against Grand Rapids on Thursday, December 19 and some others who did swim who literally got sick during the meet.

“We have the flu and upper respiratory crud raging through our team right now,” Head Coach Ellen Heath said. “We just didn’t have the depth to compete against larger teams.”

It was a slow start for the ‘Cats when their top team got disqualified for an early jump in the 200 medley relay.

The Thunderhawks followed that up by sweeping the top three spots in the 200 freestyle and quickly built a 23-7 lead. They expanded that lead in the 200 individual medley and CL looked like they might get blown out.

But, an error by Grand Rapids opened the door for a potentially CL comeback. Their varsity swimmers accidentally jumped in to the junior varsity heats for the event, which led to them not fielding any swimmers for the varsity 50 free and giving the ‘Cats the top three spots.

That trimmed the lead all the way from 20 points to just seven.

The ‘Cats then swept the diving portion of the event as the Hawks don’t have a diving program, and what was once a huge deficit became a 39-33 lead for the ‘Cats.

Grand Rapids chipped away at that over the next two events but couldn’t overtake CL, thanks in large part of a first place finish in the 100 free from Addison Clarin.

But, when the 500 freestyle rolled around, Rapids finally reclaimed the lead by going one-two-three in the event as CL has struggled to find consistent times in that event.

At that point, GR led 64-56. Clarin, Javon Ayers, Sam Strand and Cameron Bell teamed up to win the 200 free relay, cutting into the lead, and Clarin followed with another win, this time in the backstroke, to keep the ‘Cats within four.

Grand Rapids had some tough competitors still to go, though, in the breaststroke and the 400 free relay, and they ended up surging at the end and won 98-82.

“Our mid distance and distance kids were not feeling well and didn't swim great times, but did their best to score points for our team,” Head said after the match up. “Grand Rapids’ top swimmer was very fast but we were fairly competitive with the others in each event.

“We continue to drop times and dive well, We are practicing hard, have a great positive mind set and  are on track to find some success and chase down some of the faster teams in our section. ,” she continued. “We are just so heavy on the young side and don't have that depth yet - but we'll get there.”

Heath noted that she thought Grand Rapids will most likely win the section this year. “I think we were pretty competitive considering their strength and our illness,” she said.

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