For many teams in lots of sports, sections are what you spend the whole season looking foward to. It is your chance to be on a big stage, and possibly qualify for state.
But for Magic swimming, sections have become a bit of a stepping stone.
The program, which has brought home multiple state medals in recent years, can’t be blamed if they see sections simply as another step on their way to state, after all it hasn’t exactly been a large hurdle to them.
And it would be even tougher to question that relaxed approach after it brought Monticello state qualifications for eight different swimmers this past weekend at a section meet where Monticello came up just short of upsetting perennial power Breck/Blake.
“It felt like a dual meet,” admitted senior Jack Fair, in regards to the hype and atmosphere, or lack thereof, at sections.
Still, the Magic found the energy (aided by the beginning of tapering for some) to start lowering times dramatically as they prepared for state with some of their best swims of the year.
“We expected to have a really good meet, and we did,” said Assistant Coach Kristin Otterson. “The boys swam well.”
It started with the first event, where Lawrence Krause, Derrek Teicher, Noah Holthaus and Michael Carriveau turned in a state-qualifying third place finish in the 200 Medley Relay, and it continued from there.
The big three, Paul Fair, Jack Fair and Evan Lahr each advanced in four different events, including the 200 (1:27.98) and 400 (3:15.12) free relays which each won their event, and set a meet record time.
All told, eight swimmers (Krause, Teicher, Holthaus, Fair, Fair, Lahr, Connor Hanglesben, and Blaise Nygaard) qualified to swim at state, as the Magic look to continue a three-year reign on individual events at the meet.
This senior class, led by Fair, Fair and Lahr has been a part of four state champions in each of the last two years. They aren’t ready to go out with anything less than that.
“I don’t wanna lose my last year,” said Paul Fair. “That would be a big disappointment. I want to end on a high note. I want to get good times, but winning is the most important right now.”
As a team, Monticello didn’t win their section. They came up two points short of Breck/Blake. And as a team, they’ll be hard pressed to compete with the depth of St. Thomas Academy at this weekend’s state meet. But as individuals, there has been no one better than Monticello at the state meet in recent years, and that’s a trend that they’ll look to continue for at least one more year.
“We have to show up, we have to make sure we maintain that legacy one more year,” said Otterson. “Those guys deserve that.”
The Class A State Swimming and Diving Meet is held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Swimming preliminaries begin at noon on Friday, and the swimming and diving finals are scheduled to begin at noon Saturday.
State qualifiers (by event):
200 Medley Relay – Lawrence Krause, Derrek Teicher, Noah Holthaus, Michael Carriveau (Relay swimmers are listed as who swam in section finals. They are subject to change at state)
200 Free – Connor Hangsleben, Paul Fair
200 IM – Lawrence Krause
50 Free – Evan Lahr, Jack Fair
100 Fly – Paul Fair
100 Free – Evan Lahr, Jack Fair
500 Free – Blaise Nyberg, Connor Hangsleben
200 Free Relay – Evan Lahr, Jack Fair, Blaise Nyberg, Paul Fair
100 Back – Lawrence Krause
400 Free Relay – Evan Lahr, Jack Fair, Connor Hangsleben, Paul Fair
Contact Clay Sawatzke at email@example.com