It's become apparent that the Metea Valley girls swimming team has two of the better freestyle sprinters in the state in sophomores Amanda Burson and Madeline Sandberg.
And they've been consistently finishing at or near the head of the pack in both the 50 and the 100 free.
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On Saturday Burson won the 50 free in 25.13 with Sandberg close behind at 25.19.
Sandberg prevailed in the 100 free swimming a 54.63, while Burson finished third, less than a second back at 55.40 and just behind Kate Canfield of Rosary.
"I've been working on my starts and turns a lot the past week," Sandberg said. "And that helped in the 100 because that's a longer race. I don't think I was ready to swim the 50 so I decided to really get myself moving in the 100."
"In the 50 my start was good and I just carried that through," Burson said. "In the 100 free I just couldn't get my arms moving fast enough."
At last week's Neuqua Valley Invite Sandberg won the 100 with Burson coming in second, while Burson was second in the 50 and Sandberg was third.
The two have become good friends as well as friendly competitors, and they both believe they're improving because of how hard they compete with each other in practice.
"I wouldn't be doing as well without Amanda," Sandberg said. "We race each other all the time in practice, and that gives me a lot of motivation."
"The competition is fun," Burson said. "Hopefully, we'll be competing for a high place at state."
Acting coach Wyatt Jansen was impressed with the two Mustangs' performance Saturday and the work ethic they bring to every Metea practice.
"We have a heated battle that will go on throughout the season," Jansen said. "They both know where they need to be and they're both training hard. I'm excited to see what the end of the year will hold."
The sprinters along with teammates Hannah Davidson and Jacquelyn Kurkjian combined to finish second behind Rosary in the 400 free relay.
Rosary won the meet championship with 260 points, well ahead of Neuqua Valley, which finished with 218. Lyons Twp. was third with 205, then Metea Valley with 182 and Waubonsie Valley with 142.
Neuqua freshman Ryan Dulaney won the 500 freestyle and the Wildcats' Mackenzie Hamstra won the 100 breaststroke. Neuqua finished second to Rosary in the 200 medley relay.
In addition to the two relays, the Beads won several other events.
Canfield won the 200 IM, freshman Alexis Yager took the gold in the 200 free, Annie Gosselin was first in the 100 fly and Erin Hart won the 100 backstroke.
"Hart had shoulder surgery and she's just getting back to form," said Rosary coach Bill Schalz.
Schalz was pleased by his team's showing and optimistic that the Beads will do well at the state met.
"Last year we were young at the state meet," Schalz said. "We didn't swim particularly well and we took our lumps. But I could see the general attitude change at the beginning of this season in terms of aggressiveness and confidence. If we're healthy at the end of the season we should be top 10 and we could put ourselves into position to win a trophy."
Lyons won the 200 free relay with Waubonsie Valley second and Neuqua Valley third.