[PHOTO STORY] SPARKS defeated by conference rival Central

The air was humid, the smell of chlorine was strong, and the excitement in the pool was palpable. Members of the SPARKS and Central swim and dive teams were joined by parents, friends, and even administrators on Friday afternoon as they battled it out for the right to represent St. Paul. The winner would go on to compete against the winner of the Minneapolis conference in the annual Twin Cities Meet on Nov. 1.

Both teams were undefeated in conference meets leading up to Friday’s competition, making for an intense and exciting matchup. Starting off the evening with the 200 medley relay, the SPARKS had strong performances across the board. From the shortest 50-yard races to the exhausting 500-yard freestyle race, in which three SPARKS swimmers from Highland Park competed, the team gave it their all. Led by eighth-grader Avi Coleman, who took first place, the team also excelled in the diving competition.

Unfortunately, the SPARKS fell just short with a final score of 84-99. Still, they kept smiles on their faces and let out an enthusiastic cheer in support of their opponents after the results were announced.

“Competing against Central is always my favorite meet because they have so much talent, and the competitive spirit is so high in and out of the pool,” junior Clara Ann Bagnoli said.

Next, the SPARKS will participate in the St. Paul Conference Meet, where the JV swimmers and diving team will compete on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. at Humboldt High School and the varsity team will compete on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at St. Kate’s.