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SPEARFISH | After months of training, five Five Black Hills Gold swimmers culminate their season at the South Dakota Long Course meet in Sioux Falls July 26-28.

Black Hills Gold is based in Spearfish and practices at the indoor pool at the Donald E. Young Center on the Black Hills State University campus.

The team's state meet qualifiers include Conrad Thorman, Ryan VanDeest, Peyton VanDeest, Tarynn Ball and Tristin Hendricks.

Thorman will compete in the boys 17-18 200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 100 back, 200 back, 200 individual individual medley and 400 individual medley.

Thorman began swimming 12 years ago. "My family got me into swimming," said Thorman. "My parent and brother swam. I like the competition and the social aspect of swimming." His favorite event is the 400 individual medley. He has competed 11 years at State.

Rylan VanDeest is entered in the boys nine-10 50-meter breast stroke at State. This is his third year of swimming. "I learned to swim for safety reasons," he said. "I like swimming. It is a good way to burn energy." The 50-meter breast stroke is his favorite event.

Peyton VanDeest will compete in the girls nine-10 50 back, 100 back, 50 breast, 100 breast, 50 fly, 100 fly and 200 individual medley. "I've been swimming for four years," she said. "Safety reasons got me into swimming. I like swimming. You get to compete against people you don't know." Her favorite event is the 100-meter fly.

Ball is scheduled to compete in the girls 13-14 50 free, 100 free, 400 free, 800 free, 1,500 free, 100 back, 200 back. "I started swimming five years ago," she said. "I was playing soccer, came to the swimming pool and decided I like swimming. I like going to swim meets, knowing you get better. The 100 freestyle is my favorite event." This marks her fifth year at State.

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Hendricks will swim in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 individual medley at the State meet. He is a multiple-time State qualifier and is swimming his eleventh year. "I enjoy the friends you meet in swimming," he said. The 100-meter breast stroke is his favorite event.

"All five swimmers are self-motivated and just get the job done," Black Hills Gold coach Brenda Hendricks said.

Three Gold swimmers competed at the State B meet in Brookings last weekend. Peyton VanDeest took first place in the girls 50 and 100-meter back stroke, finished ninth in the 100 free and tenth in the 50 free.

"Peyton is a great little competitor," said coach Hendricks. "She is organized and ready to go."

Rylan VanDeest finished fifth overall in the boys 9-10 high-point standings He recorded second place in the 50-meter breast stroke, fifth in the 100 free and 100 breast, sixth in the 100 back, eighth in the 50 back and 12th in the 50 free.

"Rylan just turned nine years old and took a tough birthday hit for his age group in swimming," said coach Hendricks.

Ethan VanTassel claimed fourth place in the boys 13-14 400 free and 200 individual medley, fifth in the 50 free and 100 back, sixth in the 200 free, seventh in the 200 back and eighth in the 100 free.

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