YMCA Northerns swim well at recent meet

Kristen Carlsgaard


Left: At the most recent swim meet held in Duluth, Ella Hedstrom shows off great form in swimming the 500-freestyle. Top: Haddon Taylor powers to a first place in his 50-yard heat. Above: Performing the hardest, most grueling stroke, Shaelyn Hingos competed in her first 100-yard butterfly competition. 
Photos courtesy of Sara Taylor Left: At the most recent swim meet held in Duluth, Ella Hedstrom shows off great form in swimming the 500-freestyle. Top: Haddon Taylor powers to a first place in his 50-yard heat. Above: Performing the hardest, most grueling stroke, Shaelyn Hingos competed in her first 100-yard butterfly competition. Photos courtesy of Sara Taylor Nine participants and their families braved minus- 20-degree temperatures to join their Duluth teammates at the Polar Plunge swim meet in Lincoln Park on Saturday, Jan. 6. The Duluth/ Cook County Northerns hosted teams from Elk River and Hudson. The meet was marked by many dropped times and by new events for our Cook County swimmers.

The attitude of our youngest swimmers set the tone for our team. Leif Lindstrom, age 6, has greatly improved throughout this season. During one of his relay events, he enthusiastically offered to swim an extra leg, filling in for a no-show on his team. Nine-year old Aurora Gallagher adds spark and humor to our team. She can often be seen on deck cheering for her older teammates. Hard work on her technique paid off as she dropped six seconds off of her 100-yard freestyle.

Our more experienced swimmers stepped out of their comfort zones and took on new events with more distance. Nerves were tense, but all three girls had go-for-it attitudes knowing that they needed to get times on the board. Olya Wright swam a 100-yard breaststroke. The breaststroke is a stroke that takes a lot of practice to bring together, and swimmers often disqualify on this one. Olya swam with beautiful technique. Shaelyn Hingos swam her first 100-yard butterfly in competition. This is a great event to watch as experienced swimmers do indeed become butterflies. Shae swam a powerful example of this. Ella Hedstrom was our most senior swimmer at this meet. She has had great success in the past on shorter distances, but she is challenging herself to move into the longer distances. Ella swam a 200 breaststroke and 500 freestyle. She made both look as if swimming these distances is effortless. Ella, Olya, and Shae will be looking to improve their initial times in these events as they prepare for the sections meet in February.

Martine Redshaw has been preparing for some time to swim the 500 freestyle. She will move into that event next weekend in Superior. Meanwhile, she has worked to drop time on all of her events. She swam her 200 freestyle using good strategy and dropped five seconds. Liv Hedstrom is always a strong swimmer in all of her events. She swam a 100 individual medley, improving her time by eight seconds—the top drop for our Cook County team.

The sibling duo of Haddon and Finnley Taylor has been a welcome addition to our program. They had previously trained with the large YMCA team in Brainerd. Both boys bring a strong work ethic to the team. Haddon often volunteers to help younger swimmers improve their technique. At this event, he swam a strong 50-yard breaststroke and came in first in his heat. At 11 years old, his brother Finn now has second 500 freestyle under his belt. Finn also improved his time in the 50 breaststroke.

Congratulations, Northerns, for all that you accomplished! Cook County swimmers will compete again next weekend in Superior. Then, cheer on our swimmers in person at our home meet in Grand Marais on Saturday, Jan. 20.


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