At the beginning of each swimming season, head coach Dan Branham asks his swimmers to write down their goals on a piece of a paper. This spring, 11 year-old Demi Peterson penned her objectives, “To win all of my (individual) events at the state meet.” Last weekend, she did just that.
Peterson led the Williston Sea Lions with six first place finishes at the 2014 North Dakota State Long Course Championships in Bismarck July 25-27.
She captured first in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly, 50-, 100- and 200-meter backstroke and the 200-meter individual medley. To put it mildly, the Williston swimmer was ecstatic.
“I was really happy and relieved,” Peterson said after she won her final individual event Sunday afternoon. “I was really nervous before all of my races because I was swimming against the best swimmers in the state, and we each had a chance to win.”
“Demi had an outstanding performance,” said Branham. “I don’t know of any other Williston swimmer that has won every event that they swam at state.”
Peterson credits her success to the team’s coaches (Branham, Jennifer Gjovig, Kassie Gorder, Austin Semenko and Nathan Kleyer), her desire to win and training with older swimmers.
“First of all, I am really competitive,” she explained. “I also tried to keep up with the older swimmers every day at practice, and that has definitely helped me swim faster.”
The older swimmers included Jenny Logan (13), Brandy Logan (14) and Kaitlyn McKay (13).
“The 13-14 year old girls division is very competitive. Our girls are swimming against kids who swam for their high schools, yet we perform very well. The future is very bright for these swimmers,” said Branham.
Jenny Logan earned second place in the 100-meter breaststroke, 100- and 200-meter freestyle, third in the 200-meter breaststroke and fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke while Brandy Logan captured second in the 50-meter freestyle and sixth in the 100-meter freestyle. McKay finished fourth in the 50-meter backstroke and sixth in both the 50-meter butterfly and 1500-meter freestyle.
In all, 11 swimmers represented the Sea Lions at state: Jonathon Babcock, Marissa Branham, Rhys Enget, Sylver Lucero, Abby McCall, Dillon McKay and James Richards joined the Logan sisters, McKay and Peterson. Overall, the team performed very well.
“Our swimmers had their biggest time drops in the three years that I have been coaching and many of them had lifetime best swims,” said Branham. “I think the new pool and our swimming camp helped contribute to their fast times at state.”
The 2014 long course was the team’s first season in the new 50-meter competition pool at the Williston Area Recreation Center.
“Just having that dependable water time was a huge advantage for the kids,” said Branham.
The team also had the chance to train with Coach Milt Nelms during their first ever “Best Darn Swim Camp” in June.
Nelms, who is known internationally for his cutting edge swimming philosophies and techniques, has collaborated with Olympic coaches and gold medalists including Ian Thorpe, Dana Vollmer and Missy Franklin.
“We were very fortunate to bring a coach of Nelms’ caliber to Williston,” said Branham. “He taught our kids new swimming concepts and techniques which helped them move through the water more efficiently and as a result swim faster.”
Four boys represented the Sea Lions at state and all of them had at least one top-five finish.
Enget led the boys with second place in the 200-meter butterfly, and third in the 100-meter butterfly, 200- and 400-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke while Babcock captured fifth in the 400-meter freestyle, McKay captured fifth in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke, and Richards captured second in the 50-meter backstroke, fourth in the 50-meter freestyle and fifth in the 100-meter freestyle.
The following are the North Dakota State Long Course Championships/Williston Sea Lions results:
Babcock (age 14) 100-m breast 1:33.56 (7), 50-m fly 35.81 (10), 50-m free 30.54 (8), 200-m IM 2:58.83 (7), 100-m free 1:08.35 (11), 400-m free 5:14.80 (5)
Branham (age 10) 100-m breast 2:02.87 (--), 100-m free 1:32.66 (19), 50-m free 40.93 (16), 50-m breast 55.79 (14), 50-m back 47.91 (16)
Enget (age 13) 100-m fly 1:13.73 (3), 200-m IM 2:44.66 (3), 100-m back 1:16.27 (5), 400-m IM 5:47.98 (3), 200-m back 2:43.95 (3), 200-m fly 2:49.74 (2)
B Logan (age 14) 50-m free 29.52 (2), 100-m free 1:06.67 (6)
J Logan (age 13) 100-m breast 1:22.52 (2), 200-m free 2:20.76 (2), 50-m free 30.35 (8), 50-m breast 38.46 (4), 200-m breast 3:01.73 (3), 100-m free 1:04.26 (2)
Lucero (age 13) 200-m free 2:47.58 (21), 50-m fly 38.25 (15), 50-m free 35.23 (25), 100-m back 1:28.62 (14), 400-m free 5:44.92 (20)
McCall (age 13) 200-m free 2:53.22 (23), 50-m fly 40.94 (17), 50-m free 33.65 (23), 100-m back 1:28.89 (15), 100-m free 33.65 (24), 50-m back 1:28.89 (12)
D McKay (age 11) 100-m free 1:23.76 (8), 50-m fly 47.16 (9), 50-m free 36.92 (11), 100-m back 1:37.12 (5), 200-free3:19.00 (8), 50-m back 43.18 (5)
K McKay (age 13) 50-m fly 34.60 (6), 50-m free 31.65 (13), 1500-m free 21:44.33 (6), 100-m free 1:08.70 (9), 50-m back 38.04 (4), 400-m free 5:33.61 (13)
Peterson (age 11) 50-m fly 33.58 (1), 100-m fly 1:20.73 (1), 50-m back 37.38 (1), 100-m back 1:19.84 (1), 200-m back 2:48.84 (1), 200-m IM 2:52.82 (1)
Richards (age 8) 100-m free 1:55.26 (5), 50-m free 49.11 (4), 50-m back 55.44 (2)
Lucero, McCall, McKay, Logan 200-m free relay 2:09.10 (7)
Lucero, Logan, McKay, McCall 200-m medley relay 2:27.91 (6)