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Sophomore Bella Pope, second from the left, and the Forest Lake girls swim team got off to a great start to the season by defeating Cambridge-Isanti 104-74 on Monday, Aug. 30.

Forest Lake sweeps every event in 104-74 victory

New coach Rochelle McKenzie did not set high goals for the Forest Lake girls swim team in its season-opening dual meet at Cambridge-Isanti on Monday, Aug. 30.

“I wanted to make sure everybody showed up to their events on time, and we all got in the pool when we were supposed to,” she said with a laugh.

McKenzie was kidding, of course. But she certainly was pleased that her Rangers did much more than just show up in a 104-74 thrashing of the Bluejackets in their home pool.

“We just wanted to see where everyone was at – and we were pleasantly surprised in a lot of the races,” she said. “[When we set the lineup] we went based on what we have seen this season.

“Some of the girls were in events that surprised them. But we didn’t have any preconceived notions; we just went off what they had done in practice, and in some events that worked out really well.”

The Rangers burst out of the gates to a big early lead thanks to a 1-2 finish in the 200 medley relay – the quartet of sophomore Grace Chatwin, freshman Grace True, sophomore Bella Pope and junior Haley Bent won with a time of 2:03.33 – and a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 free led by True’s winning time of 2:11.38.

And those victories set the tone for the entire meet as Forest Lake won every event until it had secured the victory and started swimming strictly exhibition races.

Chatwin and junior Izzy Maloney went 1-3 in the 200 IM, with Chatwin winning with a 2:32.97 clocking, and Pope and Bent combined to go 1-2 in the 50 free, with Pope’s time of 27.89 winning that event.

Sophomores Delaney Nickles and Brooke Dubuque went 1-2 in diving, with Nickles winning with a 237.85 score, and Pope and Bent took 1-2 in the 100 fly, with Pope winning with a 1:05.14 clocking.

Maloney and fellow junior Sophia Niznik went 1-2 in the 100 free, with Maloney’s time of 1:03.08 good for first, while freshman Avery Fallon led a 1-3-4 finish in the 500 free with her winning 6:14.86 clocking.

When Forest Lake’s 200 free relay of Chatwin, Pope, Bent and True won that event with a time of 1:49.56, the Rangers swam strictly exhibition events the rest of the way.

Chatwin would have won the 100 back with a time of 1:08.05 had she not swam exhibition, and True would have won the 100 breast with a time of 1:15.37 had she not swam exhibition. And Forest Lake’s 400 free relay of juniors Ally LaBelle and Leah Henderson, sophomore Alex Ready and Niznik were the first to touch the wall with a time of 4:25.42 that also was an exhibition.

“There were some faster-than-expected surprises, and there were some girls who did really well in some events,” McKenzie said of the meet. “Grace True’s time in the 100 breaststroke was just amazing, and Avery Fallon I nearly put in the 100 free because she’s a good 100 swimmer, but her 500 time was really strong. It’s going to be hard to take her out of that event.”

The Rangers returned to action with a meet at Roseville on Thursday, Sept. 2 that was not completed at the time this story was posted.

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