Swimming: Anoka competes with the best at the U

Anoka stepped up to the top Gold Division in the Maroon and Gold Invitational to test what is a very capable Tornadoes swimming and diving team Jan. 6.

Andover's Colton Corthell takes a breath during the 200-yard individual medley  December 20 in Anoka. Photo by Bill Jones
Andover’s Colton Corthell takes a breath during the 200-yard individual medley December 20 in Anoka. Photo by Bill Jones

As one of the premier tournaments on the calendar, Anoka coach John Jacobson decided to test the competition instead of competing in the familiar Maroon division. As a result, the Tornadoes finished 11th out of 12 teams and after reviewing times, Anoka would have won the Maroon title.

“We were in great company,” Jacobson said.

The team had some outstanding individual performances in this meet, he said. “The tough week of double practices that we had before this meet makes their performances even more of a bonus,” Jacobson said.

Senior captain Cole Birklid and junior Matt Hedman placed in the top eight of their events. Senior Josh Gerick and sophomore Caleb Birklid were part of the 200 and 400 free relays that also placed among the top eight.

Hedman won the 500 yard freestyle in 4:43.15 (6.85 seconds ahead of runner-up East Ridge’s Garrett Verhoeven) and was fourth in the 200 individual medley in 1:57.99.

Cole Birklid was third in the 200 free and fifth in the 100 free.

Creighton Prep (Neb.) dominated the meet, winning the team title over Wayzata by 280.5 points. Anoka scored 173 points, 17 points behind Edina for 10th place and 37 points ahead of 12th-place St. Michael-Albertville.

The Tornadoes were second at the Laker Invite (Minneapolis Southwest) Dec. 21 and Blaine Invite Dec. 14.

Chaska/Chanhassen edged Anoka for the Laker Invite title by 83 points and Andover was sixth in the field of 10 teams.

Hedman won the 200 I.M. and 500 free. Cole Birklid won the 100 free, second in the 50 free and fourth in the 200 IM.

Anoka’s 200 free relay team of Gerick, Caleb Birklid, Hedman and Cole Birklid won in a meet record time of 1:32.19.

Andover’s 200 medley relay team of Jack Rodman, John Gendreau, Tyler Behnke and Matt Kemp placed fourth.

Gerick was second in the 100 fly and fourth in the 200 free. Gendreau was third in the 100 breaststroke.

Anoka is also 2-0 in Northwest Suburban Conference duals after a 113-73 win over Andover Dec. 12 to earn bragging rights for control of the pool the two programs share at Fred Moore Middle School in Anoka.

It also beat Centennial 109-61 Dec. 19.

Jason Olson is at
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