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Swimming preview: Moorhead hopes choppy waters thing of the past

The answer to the question has changed. What do you expect of the season? Two years ago, current seniors Kim Stadsvold and Sally Stoddard, both Moorhead swimmers, could not wait for the season to be over. They hated the team's attitude and the cl...

The answer to the question has changed.

What do you expect of the season?

Two years ago, current seniors Kim Stadsvold and Sally Stoddard, both Moorhead swimmers, could not wait for the season to be over.

They hated the team's attitude and the cliques that were tearing the team apart. But most of all, the atmosphere made them want to skip practice or swimming meets.

"People just didn't get along," Stadsvold said. "We got along with some of our coaches and some we didn't."

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"It was kind of crummy to be at practice knowing that some people didn't like you and they didn't want you to be there," Stoddard added.

Things have changed.

With the addition of Pat Anderson, who is in his second year as the team's head coach, and some senior leadership, the Moorhead Spuds have learned to put the past behind them and concentrate on their swimming.

Such was the case at a swimming meet in Alexandria Tuesday night.

"We were cheering a ton," Stadsvold said. "Alexandria may have had a few more girls, but when we started cheering we were louder than them ... Everyone realizes that everyone is friends."

Anderson realized that something was wrong with the team while an assistant coach three years ago. He no longer wanted to be a man that had ideas on the sideline. He wanted to change things first hand.

After a year off, he did just that.

"Last year I set a direction and attitude for the team," Anderson said. "There are a number of girls who aren't swimming and diving because of that. Because I cleaned house, that is a reason why we have a different direction this year. That is a reason the girls can appreciate what we want to do."

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The unification was a tough process, but one the team felt needed to be done. Last year, the team participated in a circle of trust. They all sat in a group and talked about what was on their minds.

"We went out and told how we felt about everyone," Stoddard said. "After all our feelings were put on the table, we had to get along. Even if you didn't like the person, you had to treat the person with respect.

"It was a little emotional. It helped the girls come together and play as a team."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michael Klinski at (701) 241-5549

Metro capsules

Fargo North Spartans

- Coach: Jeff Steele (fifth year)

- 2002 finish: 10th at state, third at Eastern Dakota Conference meet

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- Key swimmers lost: Allie Burnside

- Key swimmers back: Emma Espel, Jr.; Sarah Ziegelmann, So.; Jenna LeDoux, Jr.; Amy Vanlishout, Eighth; Kathryn Berg, eighth; Marlee Nassett, Sr.; Tonya Mulbaney, Sr.; Allie Barry, eighth; Teresa Martindale, Jr.; Sarah Swanholm, Sr.

- Team notes: Ziegelmann was a state champion as an eighth-grader in the 50-yard freestyle. ... Espel placed in the top eight in both the 200 and 500 freestyles. ... Steele expects West Fargo and both Grand Forks teams to be the top contenders this fall. ... North retains its large group of 11 eighth-graders from last year. "Amy (Vanlishout) is going to be a standout swimmer in the next year in whatever event she wants," Steele said.

Fargo Shanley Deacons

- Coach: Tim Cruff (fifth year)

- 2002 finish: 12th at state

- Key swimmers lost: Lizzy Matthees, Kristina Kelly.

- Key swimmers back: Amy Hartford, Jr.; Lizzie Frie, So.; Shannon O'Leary, Jr.; Hannah Simonson, eighth; Emily Kempf, Sr.; Jema Marsolek, Sr.; Jessi Rognlien, Jr.

- Team notes: Co-operated team with Fargo Oak Grove and Moorhead Park Christian. ... So far this season, Hartford and Frie have already qualified for the state meet. Hartford qualified in the 500 and 100 freestyles, and Frie qualified in the backstroke. ... This is the first year in three years Shanley has divers on the team with two. "I think this is the strongest, fastest team that Shanley has had in a very long time," Cruff said. ... The Deacons could also use outside help. "Considering the schools that makeup this team, we are always hoping for divine intervention, too," Cruff joked.

Fargo South Bruins

- Coach: Deanna Tietz (third year)

- 2002 finish: Fourth at state, won EDC

- Key swimmers lost: Heather Harris; Laura Watkins

- Key swimmers back: Erin Wessman, Sr.; Janel Lawonn, Sr.; Carlye Burd, Sr.; Brooke Harris, So.; Ashley Quam, So.

- Team notes: Graduated Heather Harris was selected senior of the year at the state meet last season, winning the 200 and 500 freestyles. ... Tietz expects Lawonn and Wessman to be the top diver and swimmer on the team, respectively. "There are a few strong swimmers," Tietz said. "I have a lot of girls that are going to step up this year. They will do some surprising times." ... Tietz expects West Fargo to be one of the top contenders in the EDC.

West Fargo Packers

- Coach: Marsha Dahl (14th year)

- 2002 Finish: Ninth at state, fourth at EDC

- Key swimmers lost: Megan Selland

- Key swimmers back: Kelsey Schoonhoben, Fr.; Andrea Flaten, Jr.; Ashley Rider, Seventh; Lindsey Moe, Sr.

- Team notes: Graduated Selland placed in the 200 and 500 freestyle events last fall. ... West Fargo has 28 on its roster. ... Dahl expects Schoonhoben and Rider to be two of the strongest swimmers on the team. "Ashley Rider is a very flexible athlete," Dahl said. "She doesn't have a bad stroke. She swims them all well." ... Moe was last year's team MVP.

Moorhead Spuds

- Coach: Pat Anderson (second year)

- 2002 finish: Tied for fifth in Section

- Key swimmers back: Kim Stadsvold, Sr.; Sally Stoddard, Sr.; Brett McMillan, Sr.

- Team notes: Anderson started coaching the girl's squad two years ago after being an assistant. He also coaches the boys team. ... The biggest improvement over last year? "The attitude of the team this year is as good as any team I have coached," Anderson said. "They are training hard right now and really coming together as a team like they haven't in the past."

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