Swimmers ready to shine at state meet

Eveleth-Gilbert swimmers (L-R, back row) Elli Jankila, Amara Carey, Carly George and (front row) Mollie Albrecht) all return to the state meet after qualifying in the 200 freestyle relay in 2017. The Bears squad has qualified this year in the 200 and 400 free relays, while Jankila and George also qualified again in individual events.

The Eveleth-Gilbert swim team returns all four swimmers from last year’s state meet to this year’s.

Elli Jankila, Amara Carey, Carly George and Mollie Albrecht advanced last year in the 200 freestyle relay and return again in that event as well as the 400 freestyle relay.

Jankila will also compete in the 50 freestyle for the second year in a row and George will compete in the 100 butterfly for the third year in a row.

With all four Golden Bears having previous state meet experience, head coach Perry Brown says things feel a little bit different this year.

“The girls feel more focused on what they want to do,” Brown said. “They have experience. Their positions in terms of their times are better than they have been in the past and that’s always a positive.

“The girls want to get in to that top 16 for scoring purposes and they’re all right on that edge. I think as a relay team, they were a little intimidated but that intimidation factor is much lower this year.”

It’s not unusual to see a relay team have to adjust in between years due to swimmer graduation, but with all four swimmers from last year competing again this year, Brown says his girls are at a great advantage this time around.

“All the stuff they’ve learned from being down here last year will help them out. I don’t have to spend time convincing them that they should be here and they know each other even better now and can back each other up and compliment each other. They have that bond that they were all here before and it’s not a new thing for us.”

With the added cohesiveness and team unity, Brown says his girls have been as mentally ready as they’ve ever been for a big meet.

“The psychological part is a big chunk of what happens down here at state. I don’t feel like their heads are in the way of the goals they want to achieve. and their attitude about the whole thing has been great. They have this ‘bring it on, let’s go’ attitude and that means they’re thinking the way they should be when you make it to state.”

The 200 freestyle relay enters the state meet seeded 15th, while the 400 freestyle relay team is seeded 17th.

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Both Elli Jankila and Carly George return as individual qualifiers to the state meet as well Jankila returns in the 50 freestyle while George returns in the 100 butterfly.

Brown believes both girls have earned their spot in their events and are in a good position to drop time like they have all season.

“They’re seeded really nicely and if they can continue to drop time like they have been then they’ll be looking to move up. It’s refreshing to hear them and their mindset because they know they’re capable of going even faster than before.”

For Jankila, Brown believes that the field is packed so tightly, it could be anyone’s game when it comes to scoring.

“The 50 is such a short race that every little of a bump can go a long way if you can improve. There are multiple girls seeded with the exact same time so I think anyone can take a shot at making it to finals.”

And for George, Brown says the fly swimmer has her sights set on breaking the one minute mark.

“The one minute mark is kind of what we’re aiming for this year. She’s wanted to break a minute for a while now and that’s definitely in the cards for her. She has a good shot at doing it.”

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