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Tiger Sharks making progress

In spite of the uncooperative weather, about 100 swimmers took part in a swim meet hosted by the New Richmond Area Tiger Sharks at the Friday Aquatic Center in New Richmond on Saturday.

Swimmers from the Rice Lake Swim Club, The Eau Claire Aquatics Club, The Coulee Region Rapids Swim Club from the La Crosse area, traveled to New Richmond to join the Tiger Sharks in the meet. Approximately 30 members of the Tiger Sharks swam in the meet.

Two Tiger Sharks had times that qualified for the state meet during Saturday's competition. Tasia Kelley qualified for state in the girls 13-14 division of the 50-yard freestyle. This is the first event in which she has qualified for state in this season.

Walter DeKock qualified for state in his sixth event this year in the boys 9-10 individual medley, which includes the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

The next competition for the Tiger Sharks is this Saturday, when they will be swimming in Chippewa Falls in their final conference meet of the season.

That meet will be followed by the state divisional meet, which this year is being held at the Friday Aquatic Center in New Richmond. That meet will be held on Feb. 5-6, with the younger swimmers competing on the first day and the older kids swimming the second day.

The Tiger Sharks have had a busy January. On Jan. 8-9 they swam in La Crosse at the Frostbite Invitational, where they could compete in up to seven events over the two days. Eleven Tiger Sharks competed, with 10 of them improving on their best times ever in at least one event. Phoebe Burchill, Mitch McCarty, Audrey DeKock and Jessie Rivard made the biggest improvements.

Of the 166 team points earned by the Tiger Sharks in the meet, Luke Byker, Walter DeKock and Audrey DeKock accounted for 161 of the points.

On Jan. 15, 24 Tiger Sharks swam in a meet at Chippewa Falls, setting 21 personal best times in at least one of the three events they swam in.

Experienced swimmers saw continued improvement, even after achieving state-qualifying times. Logan Sullivan and Luke Byker continued to be among the strongest swimmers in the conference in their age group with three firsts, three seconds and one third between them at Chippewa Falls.

In some events there were as many as 30 swimmers competing, so a top-five finish was something to be prized. Among those who put up top five finishes at Chippewa Falls were Brad Bischof, Phoebe Burchill, Audrey DeKock, Walter DeKock, Tasia Kelley, Brian Marth, Mitch McCarty, Katie Suo and Tony Tousey.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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