The swimming pool at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove will be busy on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week as the Section 3AA swimming and diving meet is being hosted at that site.
The section meet is a three-day process as the swimming preliminary rounds happen on Wednesday, Nov. 6, and the diving preliminary and final rounds happen on Thursday, Nov. 7. Finally, the swimming finals will take place on Friday, Nov. 8 with all three nights starting at 6 p.m.
There will be multiple heats for each event on Wednesday night and the top 16 finishers will return on Friday for the finals. All 16 individuals will compete on Friday for points in the team standings, but the top eight swimmers will compete for a spot at the state meet.
The top two individuals in each of the events on Friday night will advance to the state meet or if the individual has reached the state swimming standard for that particular event. Those swimming standards are times that automatically qualify an individual into the state meet.
As for diving, the top four divers on Thursday night will advance to the state meet next week.
East Ridge, Park and Woodbury will be competing against teams like Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Eastview and Rosemount in the Section 3AA meet.
Here's a breakdown on what to expect from East Ridge, Park and Woodbury over the next few days in the section meet and who could potentially be competing for a spot into state.
200-yard Medley Relay
East Ridge and Woodbury will be in the final heat of this event, while Park will be in the first heat. The Raptors have the fifth best time out of the schools, while the Royals and Wolfpack rounded out seventh and eighth for times.
It'll be a tight race for the top five teams in this event as the times between the second fastest team and the fifth fastest team are about a second and a half a part from each other. This could be a close finish for many of these schools and will make for an exciting start to the evening for the section meet.
There's a handful of swimmers from the three schools that will be competing for a top spot in the 200 freestyle including a couple near the top of the standings from Woodbury.
The Royals will have Sadie Sroga and Ava Reich competing for a spot in that final eight on Friday night. Sroga and Reich are in the top 10 for times out of the lineup for sections as Sroga is fourth overall and will try to finish under two minutes with her best time being 2:00.80.
Reich is seventh overall and will need to cut off a few seconds to reach that top two placement for state. Jordan Lindeen from East Ridge is also in the top 10 for this event and will need to swim a couple seconds faster to reach that top eight for Friday night.
For Park, Jenna Gutterman is the top swimmer in this event for the Wolfpack. She's sitting at 13th overall just above East Ridge's Erin McGrath who's in the 14th position.
200 Individual Medley
East Ridge has a handful of swimmers in the top 10 for the 200 individual medley that could be fighting for a spot in the top eight for Friday night.
The Raptors have Maya Tellez, Daphne Smoley and Marisa Duran who are all seconds away from each other. Tellez is ranked sixth, while Smoley and Duran are positioned seventh and ninth in times. While all of them could be fighting for a spot in that top eight heat, they will all need to cut a few seconds off to finish in the top two for state qualification.
The Raptors also have Shivani Kolla in the top 16 along with Abby Doyle and Sophia Peterson from Woodbury to try and qualify for Friday. Kolla is ranked 12th overall with her time, while Doyle and Peterson are positioned in 14th and 16th place in this event.
For Park, Afton LeMay is in the 19th spot and will be fighting to reach that top 16 and swim on Friday night.
The 50 freestyle is one of the closest events for finishes because it's such a short race. The race is only two laps in the pool and anything can happen in the water that could drop a swimmer in the rankings or put them on top.
The Raptors have a couple swimmers that are in the top five and only seconds away from reaching that top two spot for state. Robbie Witikko and Lauren Garrity are in the third and fourth position for this event and have times of 25.32 and 25.63.
The top two swimmers in this event have times of 24.83 and 25.18, so the two Raptors are less than a second away from reaching them. Natalie Gessner from Woodbury is also eyeing a spot on the top as she's ranked eighth with a time of 26.24, which is only a second away from that top two.
East Ridge and Woodbury have more swimmers in the top 16 with Raptor Simone Becker in 10th place and Royal Quincie Klein in 11th place. East Ridge also has Megan Lester in the 15th position to round out that top 16.
Park has a stack of swimmers from 20th to 22nd that will be swimming for a top 16 spot. Megan Garofalo, Lauren Glenna and Cheyenne Nelson (in order) fill out those three spots in 20th to 22nd place.
There are a handful of swimmers from all three teams that are in the top 16 for the 100 butterfly including two that are in the top three and fighting for that spot at state.
The Raptors have four swimmers in the top 16 as Witikko and Garrity are up in the top three. Witikko is second overall with Garrity being in third place, but every swimmer in that top five are only a couple seconds a part from each other.
Calli O'Brien and Paige Smoley round out the Raptors as they are in eight and ninth positions respectively and only three seconds away from the top swimmers in the event.
Woodbury has Reich and Peterson in the top 16 as Reich is in seventh place and Peterson sits at 14th overall. Reich has a time of 1:02.77, which is only a couple seconds away from the top swimmers.
Park has one swimmer in the top 16 and that's Nelson who's ranked at 13th and is looking to reach that top eight heat for Friday night.
The 100 freestyle will be a tight race on Wednesday and Friday night as the times for many of these swimmers are only seconds a part from each other.
East Ridge has four swimmers in contention of making the top 16 for Friday night. The top swimmer for the Raptors is Elli Moss who sits at fifth place and is less than a second away from the second-place swimmer in the event.
Along with Moss, Daphne Smoley, Becker and Kendall Siefken will be swimming in this event for the Raptors. Daphne Smoley is currently in 10th place and less than a second away from swimmers in the top eight, while Becker and Siefken are in 16th and 17th position and will fight to get into the top 16 for Friday night.
The Royals have Gessner and Doyle who are in 14th and 15th place and will competing to stay in that top 16 to swim again on Friday, while Glenna from Park is on the outside looking in at 18th place and only seconds away from reaching that top 16.
The 500 freestyle event takes pacing and conditioning to finish out strong and all three schools have swimmers that are in the top 16 and eyeing for a spot into Friday's finals.
Woodbury's Sroga is sitting in third with a time of 5:29.40 and only four seconds away from the second-place swimmer as she's hoping to claim a spot into state. The Royals also have Hannah Wellens and Lucy Jacobson in 17th and 18th place and those two will be fighting into get into the top 16.
East Ridge has four swimmers in the top 16 including Lindeen and Tellez who are in fourth and sixth place. The Raptors also have Averie Devine and Melanie Witikko who are sitting in 10th and 16th positions for the event.
Park's Jenna Gutterman is currently in the 12th position with a time of 5:46.39 and will be swimming hard on Wednesday night to try and reach the top eight for Friday's finals.
200 Freestyle Relay
East Ridge, Woodbury and Park are in the bottom half for teams in the 200 freestyle relay and will need to cut a handful of seconds off its times to earn a spot at state.
The Royals are sitting in fifth, while the Raptors and Wolfpack are in sixth and eight place respectively. Woodbury is four seconds away from the top spot in the race.
Moss is looking to reach state for a second straight season in the 100 backstroke and she's in perfect position to repeat. The Raptor sophomore is currently in second place for this event with a time of 59.40 and less than a second behind the leader.
Along with Moss, East Ridge has three other swimmers in the top 16 for this event. Paige Smoley is sitting in fifth place and is a handful of seconds from the leaders in this race.
Lauren Murray and O'Brien are in positions of seventh and 11th as O'Brien is looking for a spot in the top eight to make all four Raptor swimmers in the top eight.
Woodbury has Chloe Carlson and Lindsay Lutton who are currently in ninth and 10th place and are about a second away from reaching that top eight for Friday's final.
Park has Else Bergersen and Arachi O'Brien in 22nd and 23rd place and will need to cut off a few seconds to reach that top 16 on Wednesday night.
There is a group of East Ridge and Woodbury swimmers in the top 10 for the 100 breaststroke and all of them will be fighting for a spot in the top eight for Friday's final.
Duran, Kolla and Erin McGrath are sitting in sixth, seventh and eight place respectively and all of them will need to cut off a few seconds from their time to reach the top two for state.
Along with the Raptors, Quinn Bruning and Maya Kramer are in ninth and 11th place for Woodbury and are second away from reaching the top eight times for Friday.
Megan Garofalo from Park is currently in 19th place with a time of 1:18.76 and is less than a second away from ending up in the top 16 and swimming again on Friday night.
400 Freestyle Relay
The 400 freestyle relay will be an exciting race to round out the evening as East Ridge and Woodbury are in strong positions and Park is on the outside looking in.
The Raptors are currently in second place and are about one second away from the top spot, while the Royals are in fourth place and will need to cut off six or seven seconds to reach the top spot in this event.
The Wolfpack are positioned in sixth place and currently have a time of 4:03.83.
The diving preliminary and final rounds are on Thursday, but there are a couple divers to be focused on and have a chance to reach the state meet.
Sophomore Caitlyn Greenwalt and eighth-grader Gabby Mauder qualified for the state meet last year and both have been posting strong scores during the regular season to make another run for state.