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MAST off to smashing start
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Alex Purdy swims the freestyle leg of the 200-meter individual medley Saturday in a dual meet against South Central. Purdy won the 200 IM with a time of 3 minutes, 0.32 seconds. The MAST swim team defeated South Central 517-360.
MONROE - For about 40 first-time swimmers, their debuts on the Monroe Area Swim Team in the first dual meet of the summer were filled with success.

The team turned in several top performances in defeating South Central, 517-360, Saturday at Recreation Park.

Monroe Area Swim Team coach Jess Wells said she doesn't focus on winning the meet.

"As far as the result, it's not big for me, except the Dr. Stiles (meet) because we like to win it," she said. "Our goal is that they do their race. We try to focus on the strokes at swimming practice so they know what they are doing when they race."

Christopher Andraski, 7, won three individual events - the boys 8-and-under 25-meter freestyle (:21.31), the 50 freestyle (:49.40) and the 25 backstroke (:27.0).

Mitch Keith, 11, won three individual events including the 50 freestyle (:38.26), 100 backstroke (1 minute, 28.56 seconds) and the 50 breaststroke (:59.18).

Grant Keith, 14, finished first in three individual races - the 13- to 14-year-old 50 freestyle (:30.20), the 50 backstroke (:38.80) and 50 butterfly (:34.70).

Luke Andraski, 15, won the 50 freestyle open (:29.48) and the 50 backstroke open (:36.21). Andraski teamed with Spencer Keith, Taylor Teasdale and Alex Purdy to win the open 200 freestyle relay with a time of 2:20.62.

Andraski teamed with Purdy, Grant Keith and Spencer Keith to take first in the open 200 medley relay with a time of 2:26.26. Purdy won the open 50 breaststroke (:39.85) and the open 200 individual medley (3:00.32).

Anna Meritt, 11, finished first in the girls 11- to 12-year-old 50 freestyle (:35.93) and 100 freestyle (1:20.53). Meritt also swam on two winning relays. In the 200 freestyle relay, Meritt teamed with Grace Moehn, Kaylea Bear and Skylar Lassen to win with a time of 3:32.07. The same quartet won the 200 medley relay (3:48.86).

Grace Keith, 9, finished first in the girls 9- to 10-year-old 50 butterfly (:51.85) and she took second in the 100 freestyle (1:38.37) and second in the 50 backstroke (:49.38). Samantha Ellefson took first in the 9- to 10-year-old 50 freestyle (:41.04).

In the girls 8-and-under division, Grace Mathiason won the 50 breaststroke (:33.34) and Kayleigh Nesbitt finished first in the 25 butterfly (:33.61).

Jessica Moehn, 16, won the open 50 backstroke (:42.06) and the 50 breaststroke (:50.32). Sara Heitkamp, 18, finished first in the open 50 freestyle (:36.45) and in the 50 butterfly (:39.29). Allie Coplien added a first-place finish in the girls 13- to 14-year-old 50 backstroke (:43.51).

Moehn and Heitkamp teamed with Jenny Meritt and Shelby Coffey to take first in the open 200 freestyle relay (2:53.20). Monroe's Rachel Wellnitz teamed with Coffey, Heitkamp and Moehn to win the 200 medley relay (3:06.26).

Wells said about half of the 80 children on the swimming team are out for the first time.

"For them to swim through a whole meet and not get scared is impressive," she said. "I hope they just come out and have fun. I hope they like it enough to come back."