MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The rival Chaska Hawks and Chanhassen Storm were supposed to be in the pool on Thursday night.
Instead, the two teams joined together outside of the water to honor the life of their teammate, 13-year-old Jenna Paschke.
“Honestly, she was the definition of a good teammate. I never heard one complaint from her,” said co-senior swim captain Justine Stellmaker.
An eighth grader at Chaska Middle School West, Paschke was a fierce competitor in the pool.
“I think she must have been the hardest working girl on this team … she was just an eighth grader. She started in seventh grade and she made better times than most of the other girls on the team,” said co-senior swim captain Bronwyn Boyce-Erickson.
On Tuesday morning, just 30 hours after her brain tumor was discovered, Paschke died surrounded by her family.
The walls of the Pioneer Ridge Middle School pool are now adorned with words of love and support, all in purple — Jenna’s favorite color.
“The family actually found this to-do list that Jenna had in her closet and the three things on it were to give people compliments, be kind and to work hard,” Stellmaker said.
With one of their swim sisters now gone, the team must go on with the season without one of their own.
Although Paschke is gone, she will never be forgotten.
“Throughout the rest of our season and throughout the rest of our swim careers, we will be swimming for Jenna,” Stellmaker said.
Paschke will be laid to rest on Friday in Excelsior.
Her family has asked that memorials be sent to the American Brain Tumor Association.