Southwest aquatics triumphs again

The Southwest boys' Swimming and Diving team won the Minneapolis City Conference for the fourth season in a row last month, defeating the South, Edison/Roosevelt and Washburn teams.

Southwest's dominance did not continue at the Boy's 5AA Section finals on March 1, where no athlete advanced to the state championship.

Southwest's top city award-winners included junior Jordan Millikan, who placed fourth in the 100 Breastroke, and the 100 Free, sophomore Anders Ringdahl-Mayland placed fifth in the 500 Free and freshman Joe Helenbrandt placed sixth in diving.

Southwest has a roster of 20 athletes on their boy's team, by far the largest in the city conference. Will McAdams, Southwest's Head Coach, said Washburn's team has approximately nine, and South about 12. Edison and Roosevelt have combined their teams, and North High no longer has a swim program. Boys' numbers pale in comparison to the girls' side that has roughly 40 athletes on both Souths' and Southwests' teams.

McAdams said all of the Minneapolis boys' swimming teams are competing for athletes with other sports -- and there is the Speedo swimsuit factor.

"The boy's can wear trunks, but they realize that its pulling five extra pounds of water, and hurting their time… You can ask any swim coach. Trying to get guys out is a struggle," said McAdams.

Though this season's results are a far cry from last year, when Southwest had three boys swimmers qualify for state, McAdams said the team has come a long way in the past eight years, when South dominated the city conference.

“We try to have good team unity. Even the guys cheer for each other now. The girls always cheer. It's a good sign to me that they're already talking about next year," said McAdams.

Visitation school to expand

By Caitlin Pine

Visitation School, 4530 Lyndale Ave. S., will start accepting 7th-grade students in the 2003-2004 school year, and offer 8th grade the following year. The East Harriet school, currently K-6, has roughly 90 enrolled students.

The grade expansion will occur modestly, starting with a combined 6th- and 7th-grade class in 2003, followed by a combined 7th- and 8th-grade class in 2004. Principal Dan Gleason expects to enroll roughly 10 students in next year's 7th-grade class. While their expansion is small, Gleason thinks it indicates a trend.

"When I started in 1975, parents were more impressed by fancy technology. I think now they are more interested in a small community for their children," he said.

Visitation's current class size is about 15 students per class, though the school hopes to raise the count to 18. Current tuition for non-parish members is $3,315, and $2,050 for parish members; discounts are available for enrolling more than one child. For more information, call 827-3861.