By Bob San
Mary Whiting and a group of swimmers from Providence Academy in Wayzata have given the Osseo High team quite a lift this past season. The Providence swimmers gave Osseo better depth in meets and Whiting, the leader of the Providence pack, became Osseo’s first all-state swimmer in many years.
Whiting, who lives in Wayzata, enjoyed a particularly strong finish as she qualified for the state meet in the 100 free and 50 free and earned all-state honor in the 100 free by taking sixth place.
“To be honest, I was a little surprised how well I did at sections and state,” Whiting said. “I dropped a lot of time in both my events, the 100 and 50 free, which was really surprising being that I only had a mediocre season before sections. I had a really good summer season swimming for the first time for the Aquajets Swim Club and it truly prepared me for the high school season. In the 100, making sixth was beyond exciting, but in the 50 I swam slower at state than at sections, which placed me in the top 16 rather than top 8.”
Whiting started swimming when she was 4-years-old for Wayzata Country Club and only swam in the summers until seventh grade when she joined the Osseo High School team. Swimming and diving is the only sport the two schools co-op in.
Whiting immediately showed her talent and received all-conference in her seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th grade. She made it to state in ninth grade and placed in the top 16th in the 50 free. This year she made the final and earned her first all-state award in the 100 free.
“Last year was the first year the team has gone to state in four years, when even then only relays, which my sister was a part of, qualified,” Whiting said. “It had been a very long time since an individual had gone to state at Osseo.”
Whiting has had a positive experience competing for Osseo in swimming, although it did take a while for her to adapt to the much larger school and a more diverse student population.
“It is a really good experience swimming at Osseo. I love meeting new girls and establishing another group of friends,” Whiting said. “Swimming for Osseo is different than at a school like Providence. At first as a seventh grader, I was not used to a public school with a variety of people I had never experienced before, but I learned to love all the girls for who they are and now as a captain, I see the team as a family. No matter how different we are we all come together to achieve our goals.”
The biggest adjustment is the commute.
“Driving up to Osseo from Providence everyday is not bad, it is only about 15 minutes, but I live all the way in Wayzata,” Whiting said. “Some girls from Providence on the team live even farther, so driving over half an hour there or home can get long and costly in gas money.”
But Whiting is glad she gets to compete for Osseo against some of the best high school swimmers in the state.
“Osseo is a big school, which means being part of a hard section competing against Wayzata and other good schools, along with competing in class 2A for state with all the public schools,” Whiting said. “Where as Providence would compete in class 1A, a much less competitive class in which it is much easier to perform well.”
Whiting used to play basketball and track and last year decided to concentrate on swimming.
“After my freshman year, I joined Aquajets,” Whiting said. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s fun to be catching up to my competition after just a year.”
Even though she is only a sophomore, Whiting is a captain on the Osseo team and its best swimmer. She is looking forward to continuing to grow with her teammates in the next two seasons.
“ The Osseo team is very young, the bulk of the team are freshmen and sophomores,” she said. “It will be fun to watch the team grow and get stronger together over the next couple of years.”