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(Left photo): Duante Williams. (Right photo) L-r: Ivan Pugachov, Mike Yocum, Colton Bielawski, Andrew Akermann and coach Kari Reiter. Back row, left to right: Coach Greg Pokorski, Chad Haugstad, Graham Hoglund, Jacob Johnson and Farrque Hussein.
Younger athletes stepped up this year for Fridley High School’s swimming and diving program, and will continue to build on what they gained this year for next season.
Daunte Williams, a sophomore, took Section 4A Diving Champion recognition with a score of 333.95. He went on to place 18th in his first run at a state title. Williams’ highest 6-dive list score this season was 233.6, and a highest 11-dive list score of 378.75 at True Team.
“Daunte is so naturally able to complete his dives and what he’s asked to do,” said Kari Reiter, diving coach. “We’re working on getting closer to the board, which has improved dramatically this year. And finding the bottom of the dive; getting in clean and vertical. But he absolutely belongs at the state level.”
On the swimming side, coach Greg Pokorski noted the influx of freshmen and sophomores in pivotal roles. “The greatest success as a team was we had a lot of younger athletes, who had not previously seen themselves as great contributors in terms of scoring points or team success, move into the section roster, score points and realize the possibility that in the next couple years they could be participants at the state level,” Pokorski said. “The sophomores, in particular, saw a lot of growth as leaders.”
In state competition, sophomore Andrew Akermann came in 13th for the 100-year butterfly and 12th for the 200-yard freestyle; Ivan Pugachov, also a sophomore, placed 11th in the 500-yard freestyle; Farrque Hussein, a junior, took 9th in the 100-yard breaststroke and 16th in the 200-yard individual medley. Hussein also set a team record in the 100-yard backstroke.
Competing in team relays were Andrew Akermann, Ivan Pugachov, Graham Hoglund, Farrque Hussein, Chad Haugstad, Jake Johnson and Colton Bielawski. The 200-yard medley relay team placed 14th and set a team record.
“Being a member of the swim team provides the boys an opportunity to use their energy in a productive way that helps them maintain focus during the day and evening,” said Pokorski. “It provides them with a competitive outlet to channel efforts toward a tangible goal and see those results quickly.”