The Two Harbors/Silver Bay girls swimming team has qualified at least one swimmer for state in each of the past five years, but this year's team is already facing some challenges.
Coach Kathy Ronning has several swimmers who are dealing with injuries left over from the summer. Captain Kristin Haveri is out for the season after a knee injury earlier in the summer left her needing surgery next month. Haveri has taken over managing duties, but as a senior her experience will be missed.
Sophomore Jada Larson is also nursing a sore knee early in the season, but Ronning doesn't expect her to be out the entire season. Ronning also expects big things from Riley Larson, Jada's twin sister.
Team captain Katarina Hanson is expected to swim the 500-meter and individual medley events, and after placing in the top eight for the last few years, Ronning thinks this could be the year she breaks through to the state meet in Minneapolis.
Sophomore Kate Thomasen, a contender in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle, has been dealing with a shoulder injury over the summer, but has been improving and since practice started she's been swimming all of the prescribed yardage and looks to be getting close to her top form, Ronning said.
Kaylee Overby, last year's only state qualifier, will again be competing in the IM, and Ronning thinks the sophomore has as good a shot as anyone on the team of heading back to the state meet. Overby has four strong strokes and had it not been for a problematic turn during the section finals, she might be the reigning Section 7A champion. Best of all, Overby is healthy and swimming strong to start the season, Ronning said.
Maggie Swardstrom, the team's third captain, will lead the Agate divers this fall in a push to be the first to qualify for state in that event since Kari Haaversen in 2015.
Assistant coach Tori Highmark returned to the team and is leading the dry land activities, and this year Michelle Thewis joined the team as a coach for the youngest Agate swimmers. Ronning said eight new girls from the seventh and eighth grades joined the swim team this year, something that bodes well for the future and keeping the streak of state qualifiers alive for years to come.