Tornadoes, Panthers test state True Team waters

Anoka and Spring Lake Park represented the ABC Newspapers area at the boys’ swimming and diving state True Team meet Jan. 25 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

The meet rewards team depth over individual success with points given to every finisher instead of the top eight or 16 places and is organized by the state swim coaches association instead of the Minnesota State High School League.

Anoka placed all-time high eighth in the 12-team field with 1,199.5 points, 25.5 points head of ninth-place Lakeville South and 31 points clear of Northwest Suburban Conference rival Maple Grove.

Minnetonka won the team title over runner-up Stillwater by 340 points.

Anoka coach John Jacobson wasn’t sure how much faster his team could swim after posting 49 season bests at sections.

“I believe the meet training or teaching athletes how to keep stepping it up even after a big meet is paying off,” he said, reflecting on 24 more season-bests at the state meet.

Matt Hedman and Cole Birklid highlighted the evening with top swims against the state’s best.

Hedman won the 200-yard individual medley and 500 free, while Birklid won the 200 free and was runner-up in the 100 free by 0.04 to Edina’s Buzz Rehnberg.

Hedman won the 500 free by 11.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Mitch Herrea of Lakeville South.

Anoka sophomore Lucas Manke placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.60.

The Tornadoes’ 400 free relay team was sixth and the 200 free relay team placed eighth.

Panthers 10th, Class A

Spring Lake Park placed 10th among the 12-team field in the Class A meet earlier in the day. The Panthers scored 1,208.5 points, 60 points behind ninth-place Melrose/Sauk Centre and 116.5 points ahead of Alexandria. St. Thomas Academy won the meet over runner-up Northfield by 622 points.

The Panthers were highlighted individually by senior Richard Kepner’s fourth-place finish in 100 free; he was 10th in the 200 free.

Sophomore David Sang was eighth and junior Mark Malinovskiy 10th in the 100 back. Sang was 11th in the 50 free and Malinovskiy 15th in the 100 fly.

Two of the relay teams placed sixth in their respective events – 200 medley and 200 free relays with the same foursome Sang, Roden, Malinovskiy and Richard Kepner.

The 400 free relay was 11th with Ryan Kepner, Jimmy Kepner, Malinovskiy and Richard Kepner.

Jason Olson is at
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