Girls swimming and diving: Ponies turn back Elk River

Gazette photos by Scott Ertle
Mary Knaak swims to a victory in the 500 freestyle race during Stillwater’s nonconference dual meet victory over Elk River on Tuesday at Stillwater Junior High School.

Elk River remains the last team to defeat Stillwater in a girls’ swimming and diving dual meet, but it didn’t happen on Tuesday night as the Ponies recorded a 93-85 nonconference victory at Stillwater Junior High School.

The Ponies have now won 91 in a row since that loss to Elk River to start the 2003 season and this one was never really in doubt as Stillwater placed first in 10 of 12 events. The Ponies also placed second through fourth in the two events (200 individual medley and 100 breastroke) they did not win.

Claire Rutscher leads a 1-2-3 finish for the Ponies in the 100 backstroke while posting a winning time of 1:00.53.

“They’ve got two or three pretty good swimmers, but our depth was a little better than theirs,” Stillwater coach Brian Luke said. “I like swimming them, they’re a really nice team with fun coaches and when we swim over there they have an eight-lane pool, so it works out really nice.”

Sophia Bisch, Claire Rutscher and Mary Knaak each won two individual events and swam on two first-place relays for the Ponies, who also finished 1-2 in diving with Liz Click (180.95) and Morgan Espelien (134.75).

“We’ve got a lot of new divers, and I thought the new divers looked pretty good for only being at it two-and-a-half weeks,” Luke said.

Knaak (1:59.71) and Kylie Burgess finished first and second in the 200 freestyle and added a 1-2-3 showing in the 500 freestyle with Knaak (5:18.07), Burgess (5:22.66) and Sophie Barnes (5:37.67).

“The 200 (freestyle) was pretty tight until the 150 mark and then our girls pulled away,” Luke said.

Bisch prevailed in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.09 and added a victory in the 100 butterfly at 59.91. She was involved in two of the tighter races and she touched the wall first each time, clipping Allison Schwab by .38 in the 50 freestyle and Courtney Grunewald by .30 in the butterfly.

“I thought that girl was racing Bisch pretty close in the 50 and the fly was close, half a stroke, probably,” Luke said. “It was pretty competitive on Sophia’s part. She was in two close races and showed real determination to win those.”

Rutscher, meanwhile, won the 100 freestyle (54.98) and 100 backstroke (1:00.53. Teammates Abby Kunze (1:03.92) and Megan Letkeman (1:07.92) followed in second and third to give the Ponies a sweep in the backstroke.

“Some of the backstrokers are coming along,” Luke said. “We’re just trying to get things organized here. The first lineup of the season is never like the last lineup of the season. We’ve got one of the bigger meets of the year next week against Hastings so we want to get as organized as possible.”

Rutscher, Tiffany Vang, Bisch and Sammi Potts swam to a victory in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:55.23. Stillwater also won the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.35) with Bisch, Burgess, Knaak and Potts and prevailed in the 400 freestyle relay (3:48.83) with Rutscher, Kunze, Knaak and Burgess.

n Also on Tuesday, the Stillwater JV team recorded a 100-71 victory over Elk River.


Stillwater 93, Elk River 85

200 medley relay — 1. Stillwater (Claire Rutscher, Tiffany Vang, Sophia Bisch and Sammi Potts) 1:55.23; 3. Stillwater (Abby Kunze, Megan Weaver, Lauren Quickel and Miranda Meier) 2:01.55.

200 freestyle — 1. Mary Knaak (St) 1:59.71; 2. Kylie Burgess (St) 2:00.49; 4. Kate Gallagher (St) 2:05.57.

200 individual medley — 1. Courtney Grunewald (ER) 2:19.08; 2. Abby Kunze (St) 2:21.50; 3. Tiffany Vang (St) 2:21.98; 4. Sophie Barnes (St) 2:22.82.

50 freestyle — 1. Sophia Bisch (St) 25.09; 4. Sammi Potts (St) 26.67; 5. Miranda Meier (St) 27.19.

Diving — 1. Liz Click (St) 180.95; 2. Morgan Espelien (St) 134.75; 4. Natalie Tri (St) 98.95.

100 butterfly — 1. Sophia Bisch (St) 59.91; 3. Lauren Quickel (St) 1:07.34; 6. Ellen Kneeskern (St) 1:13.40.

100 freestyle — 1. Claire Rutscher (St) 54.98; 4. Sammi Potts (St) 58.19; 5. Miranda Meier (St) 1:00.13.

500 freestyle — 1. Mary Knaak (St) 5:18.07; 2. Kylie Burgess (St) 5:22.66; 3. Sophie Barnes (St) 5:37.67.

200 freestyle relay — 1. Stillwater (Sophia Bisch, Kylie Burgess, Mary Knaak and Sammi Potts) 1:42.35; 3. Stillwater (Tiffany Vang, Kate Gallagher, Hannah Sneden and Miranda Meier) 1:48.14.

100 backstroke — 1. Claire Rutscher (St) 1:00.53; 2. Abby Kunze (St) 1:03.92; 3. Megan Letkeman (St) 1:07.92.

100 breastroke — 1. Allison Schwab (ER) 1:12.52; 2. Tiffany Vang (St) 1:13.69; 3. Megan Weaver (St) 1:16.60; 4. Kate Gallagher (St) 1:16.73.

400 freestyle relay — 1. Stillwater (Claire Rutscher, Abby Kunze, Mary Knaak and Kylie Burgess) 3:48.83; 3. Stillwater (Kate Gallagher, Robyn Doughty, Hannah Sneden and Sophie Barnes) 4:00.48.