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Action heating up at High Point Swim Meet

Libby Scepaniak, of the Aberdeen Swim Club, competes in the girls 13 and over 100 LC Meter Breaststroke Saturday at the Aberdeen Summer High Point Swim Meet at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center. Photo by John Davis taken 6/18/2022

As temperatures hovered around 100 degrees on Saturday, some swimmers actually got to experience a bit of a chill to start the day at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center.

Long before the heat set in, a steady south breeze made conditions much cooler at the beginning of the Aberdeen Swim Club’s Annual High Point Swim Meet.

“You don’t want it to be too hot, because the sun kind of sucks your energy,” said ASC member Libby Scepaniak, “so right now it’s not too terrible.”

In fact, conditions were just the opposite when Scepaniak emerged from the water following one of her races.

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“It was kind of cold,” Scepaniak said.

The 16-year-old said it was nice being able to be at home for the weekend during the only home meet of the season for the Stingrays.

“It’s nice, because a lot of my family is here and a lot of my friends,” Scepaniak said, “so it’s just nice having more people to come.”

Scepaniak was preparing to drink more water because she knew that hotter weather was on the way. She appreciated the fact that she was among those who were able to beat the heat.

“I would much rather swim in the morning than in the afternoon on a day like today, for sure,” Scepaniak said.

Action concludes with another full day of swimming today.


One swimmer stood out from the crowd during Saturday morning’s action.

Bailey Hunt of West Fargo, N.D., was decked out from head to toe in red, white and blue colors.

“I just wanted to see how all out I could go with this,” Hunt said, “and I think I went pretty all out.”

The 17-year-old had a patriotic bandana, sunglasses, shirt, pants, clogs and speedo.

“I’ve got a cowboy hat, too, and a cape as well,” Hunt said. “They’re both sitting in my tent, though, because I’m getting ready for my race.”

Hunt said it took him about two weeks to obtain all of the gear.

You have to be in attendance, however, to see the complete stars and stripes outfit.

“This is meet attire for me,” Hunt said. “I wouldn’t go around wearing this every day.”

Weston Schaeffer, of the Aberdeen Swim Club, competes in the boys 13 and over 100 LC Meter Breaststroke Saturday at the Aberdeen Summer High Point Swim Meet at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center. Photo by John Davis taken 6/18/2022


Northern State Swim Coach Kaden Huntrods was among those catching the action on Saturday.

While times are important to him, a swimmer’s demeanor carries much more significance

Huntrods pays special attention to how competitors interact with their coaches and how they handle themselves following a race, especially if things don’t go their way.

“Some of those kids, just walk away, they throw their goggles on the ground, they yell at their coach,” Huntrods said. “It’s just not something you really want to bring in sometimes for a team.”

Huntrods, who has swimmers from South Africa, London and Panama on his team at Northern, tries to attend about six meets throughout the summer looking for about a half dozen future Wolves.

Again, character tops his list of important traits even more than a fast time.

“It’s nice to see fast kids,” Huntrods said. “It’s a lot easier to make a good person a faster swimmer than it is to make a really fast swimmer, that doesn’t necessarily care about team environment, a better person.”


Miller’s Cassi VanDerWerff got her start in swimming because of older kids and now she is trying to groom the next generation.

“The older people in our group that have graduated, they convinced me to,” VanDerWerff said of her start in the sport. “They said it’s a lot of fun. They pushed me to be here today.”

Now, the 16-year-old is passing on that same message to those younger than her.

“I encourage the little ones to come to practice and come to meets,” she said, “and see what it’s like.”

Cassi VanDerWerff, of the Miller Swim Club, takes off at the start of the girls 13 and over 200 LC Meter Backstroke Saturday at the Aberdeen Summer High Point Swim Meet at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center. Photo by John Davis taken 6/18/2022

VanDerWerff also competes in volleyball and golf. She said that swimming combines the muscle work of volleyball and the technique of golf.

She said she enjoys swimming the most because it takes place during the summer months, she gets to meet more people and doesn’t feel like the spotlight is focused solely on her.

“I feel more pressure in golf. Everyone has to be so quiet and everyone is watching you,” VanDerWerff said. “During swim, they’re not just watching you, they’re watching everybody else in the other lanes.”


One of the teams that makes a regular trek to the Hub City is a group of swimmers from the Twin Cities area.

“We’ve been coming here about 10-15 years,” said Julie Stone of St. Louis Park, Minn., coach of the Hurricanes Swim Team. “When we started coming it was just to go to a different location, race against different teams, and we keep coming back because we love the facility and it’s not a bad drive and just getting everybody outside together for a team weekend. It’s the highlight of all of our kids’ summer.”

Being outside may not seem like a pleasant idea with the hottest days of the summer upon us, but that doesn’t bother the group from Minnesota.

“We’ve had four-hour rain delays, tornadoes. It’s all part of the fun,” Stone said of past trips to Aberdeen. “It’s what the kids remember forever.”

Minnesota does not have many outdoor 50-meter pools, so the High Point Swim Meet is an ideal event. Not only that, the Aberdeen Aquatic Center provides a perfect setup.

“We love having the water park next door,” Stone said, “so some of the little siblings or the older kids play there when their session is done.”

The family relay race on Friday night is also a huge draw, pitting family members against each other in the pool.

“We usually have 20 relay teams from our Hurricanes team that compete in the family relay. They love it,” Stone said. “The kids get to see their parents swim, grandparents, aunts, uncles, they drag them in and then dad gets to see why it’s hard to go fast, because it’s actually a lot of hard work.”

Add it all together and it explains why Aberdeen has been the desired destination for swimmers from the Minneapolis area and will continue to be for years to come.

“The teenagers especially, the folklore is, Aberdeen is the best part of summer swimming,” Stone said, “so they wouldn’t let us stop.”


Joseph Grebner has spent his entire life at swim meets. Literally.

“I grew up around the pool,” said the Aberdeen Swim Club member. “My dad used to push me around in a stroller at swim meets and carry me around, so I’ve been around here my whole life.”

The 15-year-old is the youngest of four siblings to compete for the Stingrays.

He said he was not forced into the sport, but that it was a natural fit.

“I love swimming,” Grebner said, “and I can’t imagine my life without it.”

Joseph Grebner, of the Aberdeen Swim Club, leaves the starting block as he competes in the boys 13 and over 100 LC Meter Butterfly Saturday at the Aberdeen Summer High Point Swim Meet at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center. Photo by John Davis taken 6/18/2022

Grebner uses his God-given ability to give honor back to God when he competes in the pool.

“You really have to get down to the basics of why you love something and why you do it,” Grebner said. “It’s more of why are we here on earth? You just have to do it to give God glory and to bring people closer to Him.”

Grebner hopes to continue to swim for the rest of his life, long after his days with the Aberdeen Swim Club are over.

For now, Grebner plans to do the best he can as he attempts to beat his previous best times.

“There’s three ways you can swim,” Grebner said. “You can swim against your time, you can swim against yourself, and you can swim against your opponent. I like to swim against myself, and then when the time comes, swim against my time.”

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