March 4, 2015 at 12:52 p.m.

Wildcats sending eight athletes to eight state events

Wildcats sending eight athletes to eight state events
Wildcats sending eight athletes to eight state events

Eight athletes going to the state meet is a lot in any sport.

It’s plenty in swimming, but what makes the eight Chisago Lakes boys swimmers and divers so accomplished is that  nearly every athlete who earned a trip is going in multiple events. A few are even going in the maximum number of four events.

Austin Turman, Riley Darling and Jake Carlson are all going in four events, and Derek Frank is participating in three. All three relay teams are going for the Wildcats, and that’s been a goal of theirs from the beginning of the season.

“It was quite a two days at the Section 4A Championships.  We had a long time to train for just this meet (around a month since our last dual meet) and we felt VERY ready going into prelims,” Head Coach Brian McNally said. “The guys were excited to show the rest of the section exactly how hard and focused our training has been.  They did just that!  I saw amazing swims throughout the pool and everyone on the team had huge time drops.  It was a joy to watch them perform so well in their big moment.”

McNally explained some of the highs from the section finals that saw his team finish in second, behind Spring Lake Park.

200 Medley Relay:
This relay had some changes made between prelims and finals.   I was weighing many different swimmers, trying to find just the right combination to swim the fastest together.  We qualified for state by earning a 3rd place spot just ahead of Columbia Heights.  

200 Freestyle:
All of our guys swam great times in this event.  It was fun to watch Ethan Harris swim this event because he doesn't normally do this event.  He excelled and earned a great place (8th).  Regulars, Colton Olson, Matt Braun, and Austin Turman rounded out our entrants in the 200 Freestyle.  Austin was seeded first after prelims but managed to earn a trip to state by finishing third.  

200 Individual Medley:
We had quite the force in this event.  Riley Darling was seeded first after prelims and won the event in COMMANDING fashion.  He smashed his own school record and achieved the amazing feat of going under two minutes in the 200 IM.  Riley finished 10 seconds ahead of the next competitor.  
Behind Riley, we had Derek Frank earn third place and earn his second trip to state in an individual event.    This was one of our strongest events.  

50 Freestyle:
Led by Junior Jake Carlson, our 50 sprinters swam well.  Jake qualified in third place for the state meet swimming a 22.96.  Earlier in the meet, during the 200 Medley relay, he swam the super fast time of 22.29 seconds.  Jake is a very rare athlete in that he qualified for state both in diving AND in three swimming events.  Occasionally you will see a diver on a relay, but almost never in an individual event.  

Diving:
Our two steady as a rock divers earned second and third place.  Jake Doble looks to make a splash at state and earn his 2nd state medal.  Jake Carlson finished 9th last season at state and looks to get into the medal contention this year in diving to go along with his great swimming.  

100 Butterfly:
Riley Darling again dominated this event.  He won in grand fashion.  In prelims he achieved a career long goal of breaking our school record.  The record was set in 2004 by a swimmer who finished second in state when he set it.  Riley finally broke the record during prelims but took another half a second off the record in finals.  Riley is currently seeded second at the state meet by a margin of just .01 seconds.  
Following closely behind Riley we had Derek Frank earn fourth, narrowly missing a trip to state in this event as well, which would have qualified him in a fourth event.

100 Freestyle:
Austin Turman was in first place after prelims, but this was a VERY competitive field this year.  Last year both Austin Turman and Derek Frank qualified for state in this event.  After a tough battle at finals, Austin finished fourth, just out of contention for the state meet.  

500 Freestyle:
Once again Ethan Harris took it upon himself to shine in this event.  He has so much guts in his distance events that it is sometimes painful to watch.  Ethan swam well and led our distance crew by dropping 13 seconds from his lifetime best in prelims. He then asked me to set him at an even tougher pace for finals where he dropped another 9 seconds to finish in fifth place.  As he is only a freshman, his future is very bright in the pool.  

200 Freestyle Relay:
This has been a speedy crew all year and has remained virtually unchanged.  This is the relay team that won our true team section and finished eighth at true team state.  They finished second place at sections, just behind Spring Lake Park.  In doing so, they broke our school record.  They look to get into the top eight at state and earn a medal.  

100 Breaststroke:
Charles Olson led our crew in this event.  He looked like he would be in the fight at the top for a potential trip to state.  However, it was a fast crew in the final heat and Charles finished fifth.  

400 Freestyle Relay:
Last but not least, our 400 free relay performed well and all had great times for them.  This was again a tough decision about who would be on the relay since we have so many sprinters swimming well right now.  the team of Derek Frank, Colton Olson, Austin Turman, and Riley Darling swam outstanding and finished second.  Colton Olson even dropped a second from his best time ever that he swam just one hour earlier!  All of them except Colton Olson were on the state relay team that went to state finals last year and smashed our school record by over a full second.  They are looking to drop some time and set the record even lower!

The state tournament, populated by so many Wildcats, will start on Thursday, March 5 at 11 a.m. at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. On that day, Carlson and Doble start their diving. The swimmers will be in the pool on Friday and Saturday, March 6-7 at 11 a.m. both days.

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