December 19, 2019 at 1:59 p.m.
The Chisago Lakes boys swimming and diving team took on Princeton in their season opener on Thursday, December 12 and although they didn’t earn the win, things are looking up this season for the Wildcats.
“The boys put in a strong effort and it was an exciting and fun meet. We had a strong conference season opener. I pulled up last year's results and they exhibitioned us. The actual score would have been 116-69,” Head Coach Ellen Heath said. “And there were huge time gaps between winning Princeton athletes and Chisago. It was much closer and more competitive this year.”
The Tigers built a small lead early with nice results in the medley relay, 200 free and 200 individual medley. In the 50 free, though, CL trimmed into that lead when Cameron Bell swam a lifetime best time in the 50 free to win the event by .02 seconds with a time of 24.65.
“Cameron had a strong burst at the finish,” Heath said. “It’s something we’ve been harping on in practice and it paid off for Cameron.”
The ‘Cats briefly took a lead with their elite one-two punch in diving of Storm Opdahl and Jimmy Nord. They finished first and second, well in front of their season-starting pace from last year. First year senior diver Kaleb Bruce also finished in fourth place, an impressive spot for his first ever diving meet.
After Princeton tied it at 47-47 after the 100 fly, Addison Clarin gave them the lead again when he won the 100 free in 52.69. It was another narrow victory, out-touching the Princeton swimmer by .16 seconds. Heath said she believed it was Clarin’s personal best in the event.
But, the Tigers got a one-two sweep in the 500 free and then grew the lead in the 200 relay to 76-64. The ‘Cats made their final stand, with Lars Heinecke and Jarrett Hawkinson finishing one-two in the 100 backstroke and getting the meet to within eight points.
Unfortunately, Princeton won the last two events to seal the victory at 101-85.
“The coaches expectations and swimmer and diver individual goals are both pretty lofty this season,” Heath explained. “But the boys are swimming and diving lights out. I was a bit concerned about attitude and performance with the change in longer and more demanding practices, but they are rising to the challenge. We are going to be strong in a number of different events but a little hard to overcome some of lack of depth. If some of the younger swimmers can develop quickly those building blocks will come together a bit better.”