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Pair of Packer seniors celebrate their friendship at Big Nine swim meet

In a strange year, things got even more unique as the Packer swimming and diving team logged in its times and scores for the Big Nine meet in Bud Higgins Pool Wednesday.

The Packers won’t know where they finished or how their times ranked until later this week, but it didn’t stop them from pushing hard in the pool. For seniors Molly Garry and Molly Sheehan, the meet served as culmination of their friendship that began when they were third graders who swam at the YMCA.

The duo’s time as teammates is running out as the Packers have just one meet remaining, but they’re soaking it all in.

“The bond is there and I don’t think it’s ever going to leave,” Gary said of Sheehan. We’ll be best friends, always. It’s happy, sad.” 

Garry swam a solid time of 57.69 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and Sheehan was just 3.5 seconds off a 1987 AHS record with a time of 1:12.39 in the 100-yard breaststroke and she shaved three seconds off of her 200-individual medley time.

“My motivation was just trying to go out and leave it in the pool. I was very happy with how I raced tonight.” Sheehan said. “It’s been fun (swimming with Garry) and once it’s over, it’s over. Whether you like it or not, it’s going to happen.”

Austin head coach Alexa Dolan Peterson said that Garry and Sheehan will both be missed next season.

“They’ve been in sports since they were in early elementary school and they’ve been great role models for these younger swimmers,” Dolan Peterson said. “They will be missed, but we alway say ‘that’s what’s supposed to happen.’”

Madelyn Murley had a big swim in the 100-yard backstroke as she hit a time of 1:06.26 and many other Packers had season best times on the night.

“This was one of the best Big Nine meets that I can remember,” Dolan Peterson said. “I don’t know if it was home pool advantage or that we didn’t have to travel, but they figured out how to race the clock. The energy level was high.”

The Packer varsity divers will compete in Northfield on Friday night to conclude the meet and the results should be released sometime over the weekend.

Austin will conclude its season when it hosts Winona and Albert Lea in its part of the virtual Section 1A meet at 6 p.m. on Oct. 23.