Five swimmers have qualified to represent the Williston Sea Lions in the International Swim Coaches Association Senior Cup in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Kambree Draper, Dru Zander, Braelynn Tofte, Kara Hansen, and Zach Budd will all be traveling to Florida on Friday to compete at the event from March 21 to 25.
Hansen has been working to qualify for the meet for over a month before finally earning her way to the trip.
"I was really happy," Hansen said. "it has taken me over a month to get it, it's really a goal accomplished."
To achieve a better time, Hansen said moving faster on her turns was the key.
"Trying not to grab the wall on my turns a whole lot and move faster on my turns," she said.
Budd has been swimming for 6 years now and has qualified for two events: the 50 fly and the 50 breast. He describes going to Florida as "very exciting."
Draper and Tofte were two of the three to qualify for the meet months prior, but seeing Hansen and Budd qualify just showed them what the team is capable of. Draper said that Head Coach Cameron Elmer's dedication to them and the team was a factor to their success.
"It's pretty great to show off what our coach can do and the work he has put in," Draper said.
Qualifying for the Senior Cup is an exciting opportunity — but to do it with your teammates and friends will make the experience that much better, Draper said.
"You have somebody to hang out with," Draper said. "I would go to sectionals and it would be boring because you have no teammates to hang out with, but now with all five of us going we get to spend that time together."
"To spend something this big and this exciting with more people and not just ourselves, it's really fun," Tofte said.
Last year the team didn't have any swimmers qualify to make it. To now have five swimmers qualify in a year shows the growth within the team. Each athlete of the team raises the bar each practice and that translates to others on the team becoming more inspired.
"It's pretty awesome to have five kids make it," Elmer said. "We have one kid make a sectionals time and they make national meet time. That lets the other kids see that 'hey we can make it' so other kids push, now we have five going. For me that means next year I'm thinking, 'how many is it going to be?'"
The hope is with success that the team is having more kids will be inspired to try out and participate and the team will continue to grow.
"Seeing more kids make it and having that come from Williston, I'm hoping that we have a large tryout turnout," Elmer said. "I have had a lot of interest in it, because of what these kids are doing. I keep telling the senior group swimmers that it's their team. I am the one who instills the culture, but they are the ones who keep and grow the culture of this team. And that's why our team is growing because of the culture they are keeping."