March 11, 2010 at 12:08 p.m.
After graduating a bulk of their team last year, Chisago Lakes boys swimming and diving Head Coach Mark Nordby figured it'd be no easy task getting guys to the state tournament this year.
Two guys were back from last year's state tournament, and one was junior Ryan Smith. As a 10th grader last year, Smith qualified for the state tourney in the 500-yard freestyle swim. He finished in 20th place last year with a 5:19.09.
Although he didn't jump up any spots from last year, his time shows just how much difference a year can make.
Smith finished in 20th again, three spots out of qualifying for the consolation finals, but his time was 5:10.74, almost nine seconds faster than last year's time. The jump in time but similar standing just shows how much the compeititon jumps up every year.
In the other event that the Wildcats qualfied for, they made it all the way into the second day for the consolation finals.
In the prelims, the quartet of Smith, Alex Vitalis, Matt Mattson and Mitch Gebauer just edged out Montevideo, Fergus Falls and Virginia for the 15th spot.
Going into the meet, their seed time was 1:35.10, the second slowest in the meet. But, with their adrenaline pumping, the foursome finished in a time of 1:33.66.
Gebauer swam the fastest leg, finishing in 22.72 seconds. He was the only swimmer on the 'Cat team to go under 23 seconds on the swim.
The Wildcats moved on to the consolation finals on Saturday, and although they got a worse time, they didn't drop down any spots as Montevideo was disqualified for leaving too early.
In the finals, the guys swam a 1:34.90 with nobody coming very close to breaking the 23 second barrier.
Although the results weren't what the 'Cats hoped for, all four swimmers that participated in the state meet will be back next year trying to shave more time off of their times in an effort to bring a state title home in an event for Chisago Lakes.
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