Record-setting swims help Anoka reach state True Team

Anoka's Mike Rosier takes a breath during his leg of the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s Mike Rosier takes a breath during his leg of the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Forest Lake edged Anoka by 23 points for the Section 7AA True Team title at Northdale Middle School Jan. 18, but Anoka qualified for the Class AA state True Team meet through a wild card process after the meet.

Several meet records fell in what was could be a primer to a very fast section meet in a few weeks.

Andover’s 200-yard medley relay team of Jack Rodman, John Gendreau, Tyler Behnke and John Kemp won the opening event in a meet-record setting time of 1:42.46, 3.97 seconds clear of runner-up Anoka’s time of 1:46.23.

The second Huskies relay placed fifth to help the team score 150 points after the first event.

Anoka's Chris Denucci takes a breath during the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s Chris Denucci takes a breath during the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka won the two remaining relays, but the Rangers depth in the relays prevailed.

Tornadoes coach John Jacobson described the day as one of the most exciting meets he’s been a part of. “I have to say that my team were the champs when it came to team [in] sync or electricity,” Jacobson said. “Just before the last event I told the boys that either way, we coaches were proud of their effort and to finish strong because of the wild card possibility.”

The other section runner-up teams matched times and the top five were added to the state meet. Anoka was fourth along with Eden Prairie, Edina and Lakeville South and six points ahead of the final and fifth-place team Maple Grove.

Andover's Amar El-Hammamy takes a breath during the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Andover’s Amar El-Hammamy takes a breath during the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka set the 200 free relay meet record time of 1:31.36 with the team of Cole Birklid, Josh Gerick, Caleb Birklid and Matt Hedman.

The same group also set a new meet best time in the 400 free relay of 3:19.57 over Andover by nearly six seconds.

Caleb Birklid won the 100 breaststroke over team and classmate Lucas Manke by seven-hundredths of a second, 1:04.30 to 1:04.37. Cole Birklid won the 100 free in a meet record time of 47.68 and 200 free in 1:44.41.

Hedman set a new meet record in the 200 IM winning in 2:00.70. Caleb Birklid was runner-up to Hedman in the event by 3.24 seconds.

Blaine's David Brunik takes a breath during the 200 free. Photo by Bill Jones

Blaine’s David Brunik takes a breath during the 200 free. Photo by Bill Jones

Hedman also won the 500 free in 4:50.51, more than 15 seconds ahead of Forest Lake runner-up Ben Chatwin. He was less than a second off Cole Birklid’s meet record time, but more than six seconds behind his pool record, set in 2013.

Gerick won the 100 fly against teammate Mike Rosier, 56.02 to 56.43.

Blaine junior Derek Kuecker won the 50 free against Andover senior Tyler Behnke, 22.92 to 23.10.

Andover swept the top two diving spots, led by senior Ben Arnold’s score of 353.45 and runner-up Stephen Ayim, an eighth-grader who scored 348.65.

Coon Rapids' Austin McLagan leaps out of the water during the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Coon Rapids’ Austin McLagan leaps out of the water during the 200 medley relay. Photo by Bill Jones

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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