The Hastings Raiders girls’ swimming and diving team had three athletes compete at the Class AA state meet on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 14-15. Junior Annika Tverberg was the first Hastings diver to qualify for the state meet since 1996 when her diving coach, Brianna Aarness, qualified. She was joined by eighth grader Ashtyn Stewart in the 50-and-100-yard freestyle events and freshman Ava McNamara in the 100 butterfly.

Tverberg makes history

Tverberg said that after taking seventh at sections last year, getting into the top four and going to state was a goal of hers.

“At sections they kept up the top three divers on the scoreboard at all times and whenever a person did a dive it would refresh. So after I did my last dive I was ranked third and then as the rest of the girls went my name continually stayed up there at third,” she said. “So I was getting really excited then as the last girl did her last dive I was still up there and so excited because right then was when I knew for sure I was going to state.”

Being the first girl diver from Hastings in over 20 years was icing on the cake.

“Yes my coaches had been telling me that Brianna was the last girl diver to make it to state, so when I made it, it was really special,” Tverberg said. “Brianna was really excited for me to make it and she has been preparing me for it for many years now.”

Heading into state, she said her goal was just to do her best in a new environment.

“I have never been to the U of M pool, and the boards there definitely feel different from our boards I’m used to so it was definitely a good experience trying to get used to something new,” Tverberg said.

Tverberg took 29th out of 32 divers in the preliminaries with a score 129.05 but did not advance to the semifinals.

“It wasn’t my best meet, but I was happy with most of my dives,” she said. “There was one dive that I wish I would have performed better than I did but over all the meet was pretty good.”

Junior Annika Tverberg took 29th during the Class AA state diving meet with 129.05 points. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia
Junior Annika Tverberg took 29th during the Class AA state diving meet with 129.05 points. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia

Stewart and McNamara

Stewart and McNamara both swam in the preliminaries of their events on Friday but did not advance further. Stewart, who was Hastings’ lone swimmer last year, said that having other swimmers with her this year enhanced the experience.

“It was different, this year I had Ava McNamara with me so that was very exciting! Especially since last year I was the only one that made it,” she said. “It made the experience much more enjoyable and it was super fun to watch her swim. We also had a lot of our teammates in the stands cheering us on which was amazing!”

Last year Stewart qualified in the 100 butterfly but this year she moved over to the freestyle and made it to state in two of those events.

“I love the butterfly and would have loved to have swam it but the freestyle events were the best choice for the team, especially because we had four other people swimming the fly,” she said. “I still have four more years that I can swim it, and I would definitely love to.”

It was a completely different set of circumstances for McNamara.

“I was really excited to qualify for state and I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “My goal was just to place top eight at sections and letter.”

McNamara finished 22nd with a time of 59.52 seconds in the 100 butterfly, while Stewart was 23rd in the 50 freestyle in 24.82 and 20th in the 100 freestyle (54.25).

“I was hoping to make it back to the finals in at least one of my events, unfortunately I didn’t,” Stewart said. “This year the coaches were preparing me and resting me up for the section meet, so by the time we got to state it was a little tiring and I didn’t feel as great as I did at sections. Next year they will prepare me more for the state meet rather than sections.”

Tverberg will be doing gymnastics this winter while both Stewart and McNamara swim for the Hastings Area Swim Team.

Eighth grader Ashtyn Stewart swam in the 50-and-100-yard freestyle events on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Class AA state swimming meet. She finished 23rd and 20th in those events respectively. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia
Eighth grader Ashtyn Stewart swam in the 50-and-100-yard freestyle events on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Class AA state swimming meet. She finished 23rd and 20th in those events respectively. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia