MANKATO — Her last name might not be Nack, but that doesn't mean senior Gretchen Dhuyvetter isn't an important part of the Mankato West swimming and diving team.
Dhuyvetter was her usual consistent self at the Minnesota State pool Thursday, helping the Scarlets to a 94-91 victory over Big Nine Conference rival Rochester Mayo. Dhuyvetter delivered a first as part of the 200-yard medley relay and added two more fifths to provide crucial points.
"That's what she does," West coach Dave Burgess said. "She's not going to win a lot of events, but she's our best breaststroker and she has the ability to swim wherever we need her. That's a valuable asset when you're planning a meet and you need to move people around."
Dhuyvetter has been swimming on varsity since seventh grade. She was used sparingly the first couple of years but found her niche in the breaststroke as a ninth-grader. Since then she's been a constant in the varsity lineup.
Dhuyvetter took swim lessons as a youngster and competed with the Mankato Marlins and Mankato Mantas teams, qualifying for state a few times. When she turned 11, however, she was burnt out and decided to give up the sport. But in seventh grade, a phone call changed her mind.
"Coach Burgess called me and said he heard I was a pretty good swimmer and would I be interested in joining the team," she said. "I said yes and it turned out to be a great decision."
Dhuyvetter admits that sometimes, after a series of long practices, she'll again ask herself if it's worth it. The answer always comes back yes.
"I have too many friends on the team to give it up," she said. "I would miss it too much."