Anoka boys’ swimming tested the field at the Class AA State True Team meet to place ninth among 12 teams in the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center Jan. 26.
Eden Prairie beat runner-up Minnetonka by 153.5 points to secure the team title.
Knowing they competed with some of the best swimmers in the state, coach John Jacobson felt the meet went very well, regardless of the team’s overall position and is a sign of good things to come at the MSHSL state meet, which is about one month away.
The Tornadoes were highlighted by several top five finishes as this meet puts more weight on team depth instead of winning an event.
A typical meet scores the top 16 swimmers with 16 points for first place and one point for 16th place. In a True Team format each swimmer that completes a race receives a point with the winner receiving points equal to the number of entrants and last place picking up one point. Points are multiplied for relays.
Anoka’s standouts junior Cole Birklid and sophomore Matt Hedman competed well against the state’s top swimmers in their respective races.
Cole Birklid was third and Josh Gerick’s was 14th in the 200 free.
Sophomore Matt Hedman placed third in the 200 IM in 1:59.66 and senior Nick Hedman was 21st in 2:10.03.
Matt Hedman led Cole Birklid in the 500 free by less than two seconds as they finished in third and fourth places, respectively.
Gerick was 15th in the 100 fly in 56.07 and Mike Rosier was 33rd in 59.58.
Senior sprinter Alex Kvidera was 18th in the 50 free in 23.36, 0.07 behind Stillwater’s Alex Burback for 17th place. Kvidera was also 18th in the 100 free and Caleb Burklid was 28th in the event in 52.91.
Nick Hedman was 16th in the 100 breaststroke.
The Tornadoes’ 400 free relay team of Kvidera, Gerick, Matt Hedman and Cole Birklid was sixth in 3:20.85, 0.42 behind fifth-place Rosemount.
Before sections, Jacobson said the focus of the coaches would be to get the 200 medley relay team quicker to help draw team points, just as the other relays do.
“Those were the top 12 teams in the state and I felt very proud of our team placing ninth,” Jacobson said, given the constraints on pool time since Anoka shares Fred Moore Middle School pool with Andover.
Both Andover and Anoka might have practice from 6 to 9 p.m. or miss practice time because of a meet for the other team. “Yes, I am very proud of the team and my coaches for working through this and getting the results that Anoka is getting,” Johnson said.