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CLASS A SWIMMING: One last time

Marshall’s Nyssa Bentz and Amelie Schmidtke will both be making significant trips to the state meet this weekend and look to finish things on a high note

Independent file photos Left: Marshall’s Nyssa Bentz competes in the 200 yard individual medley during their meet against Mound Westonka on Oct. 1. Right: Marshall’s Amelie Schmidtke competes in the 100 yard butterfly event during their meet against St. Peter on Oct. 25.

MARSHALL — Nyssa Bentz is no stranger to competing at the state level. In fact, she’s become a regular fixture at the Class A meet throughout her career, qualifying in each of the past three seasons.

For the first time, however, she won’t be alone. Junior Amelie Schmidtke will be joining her teammate in her first trip to the state meet.

“It’s amazing,” Schmidtke said on qualifying. “I’m really proud to swim with this team and have this chance to swim at this competition and I’m very excited.”

Bentz, a senior, said it’s a great feeling to go back for a fourth straight time and added it’s even better that Schmidtke is competing with her.

“It feels good; I’m ready to go back and swim my best and make it hopefully make it my best ever,” Bentz said. “It’s really fun [that she’s competing]; throughout this season, I’ve become really good friends with Amelie and we’ve been lanemates and we’ve grown in a good relationship with each other. It’ll be fun and I’m really excited to have someone there with me.”

Both swimmers will be making significant swims this weekend, as Bentz and Schmidtke are competing in their final races.

Bentz will be competing in the same two events she’s qualified for during the past two years, the 50 and 100-yard freestyle. She said her goals are to give it her all and swim the best races she can.

“I want to further down my records a little bit,” Bentz said. “I think my goals are probably just to swim my best races; it’s my last year, so I want it to be the best I can do.”

Schmidtke will also be competing in a pair of events, swimming in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. She said her goals are similar to Bentz’s, just to have fun and hopefully make it to the finals.

“I’ll try to swim my best time for the season and hopefully get to the finals and just have fun,” Schmidtke said.

Marshall is coming off a Section 3A meet where it had several athletes compete on the final day and post strong times across the board. While coach Nikki Bell is a little disappointed they weren’t able to bring more of their team to the state meet, she said she was extremely pleased with both Bentz and Schmidtke’s performances in the section and is excited to watch them compete this weekend.

“It’s exciting; that relay was a heartbreaker, but it’s twice as many swims as last year. I was really impressed and pleased with Amelie to get those state cuts out of those consolation heats by getting ninth place and still being able to go, so that’s exciting. I talked to my girls about that, but to see a teammate actually do it was exciting,” Bell said. “For Nyssa, she swam better at sections than we’ve ever seen her swim; she crushed one of her records in the 50 free and it’s exciting to see her seeded the same in the 50 at the No. 2 spot going into state and then just dropping one spot to third in the 100. I was just so pleased to see that smile on her face, we worked on her breakouts a little bit and that really translated over, and then to see the composure with Amelie, she’s been to a lot of prelim finals meets and she was able to do what she needed to do in prelims and then come back and swim hard in finals to get those cuts.”

Bell added that in the week in between sections and state, they’ve been working on their breakouts as well as building up their endurance.

“It feels like a really long time [between competition], so we’ve been making sure that their breakouts are in place and actually taking their yardage up a bit so that they have that endurance to be able to deal with the driving and the warming up on Thursday and Friday,” Bell said. “It feels like it’s really stretched out, so just making sure that we still have another week of endurance and hold it together and have that explosive power. Fortunately, they’re both sprinters, so that helps for training.”

The Class A prelims begin at noon today at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The finals will begin on Saturday at noon.

Bentz said she’s looking forward to pushing towards her goals and being able to put her hand on the wall one final time.

“It’s kind of sad but I think I’m probably looking forward to putting my hand on the wall for the last time and seeing a good time on the board that I’m happy with,” Bentz said.

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