Alexandria swimming and diving: Aaseng paces Cardinals
Alexandria's Kris Aaseng made it look easy in the Cardinal swim team's season opener on Tuesday night.
The senior distance swimmer already owns the school record and is an all-state performer in the 500 freestyle. He looked poised to reach those kind of heights again this winter as he blew past the field on his way to two of Alexandria's four wins in a 108-75 loss to Brainerd.
Aaseng left no doubt in the 500 freestyle as he finished more than 11 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Peder Smith of Brainerd. Aaseng touched the wall in a time of 5:14.63, not quite the Central Lakes Conference record time of 4:54.79 that he reached in Sartell last season, but a promising start to his senior season.
"He's got a motor on him," head coach Mark Storhaug said. "He just has that aerobic gift of high endurance capacity. He is among the all-time best we've had in the distance races. He was all-state at the Class A championships last year, and we are hoping for a repeat performance this season."
His two wins weren't quite enough to help Alexandria overcome a strong Brainerd team on Tuesday night. Eric Moe in the 50 freestyle (23.46) and Jimmy Pfeffer in diving (123.25 points) were the only other wins the Cardinals could muster in the 12 events.
"We have gained some ground on the Warriors since last year," Storhaug said. "But Brainerd has filled holes from graduation quite nicely. They are still real tough."
The Warriors were led by a couple wins apiece from Justin Kuglin and Josh McKeag. Kuglin took the 200 IM (2:11.67) and the 100-yard freestyle (51.09), while McKeag raced to wins in the 100 butterfly (55.80) and the 100 backstroke (59.6).
The Cardinals were able to put together seven runner-up finishes. Mark Kallevig had two of those in the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly. Eric Moe and Elliot Jacobson each added individual second-place finishes and the 200-medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams did the same. Those finishes are a step in the right direction from how this team opened up against Brainerd a year ago.
"In just about every instance, we are well ahead in terms of times from our opener last season," Storhaug said. "This is encouraging regarding our potential for personal bests and improvements this year. I would like to have swum our rivals a bit later in the season, rather than work the kinks out and feather in the new kids in such an important contest right out of the gate.
"We'll be more prepared in our next outing. But we've got to get organized fast because we've got some tough meets coming up before the holidays, including one against a highly touted St. Cloud Tech squad."
The Cardinals were trying to bounce back against Melrose Area last night, Thursday, before going to Rocori next Tuesday night. They will take on that talented Tigers team in St. Cloud next Thursday in their last meet before the holiday break.
Brainerd 108, Alexandria
ALEXANDRIA TIMES - 200-MEDLEY RELAY - Zac Bartolomeo, E. Jacobson, Kallevig, Max Jacobson - second place, 1:48.26; Brandon McCormick, Kyle Blank, Sean Norheim, Jake Strand - fourth place, 1:58.05
200 FREESTYLE - Aaseng - first place, 1:53.49; Aaron Pietrowski - fifth place, 2:03.57; Ben Tollefson - sixth place, 2:09.51
200 IM - Kallevig - second place, 2:14.99; E. Jacobson - fourth place, 2:22.40; Bartolomeo - fifth place, 2:26.11
50 FREESTYLE - Moe - first place, 23.46; Blank - fourth place, 24.98; Norheim - fifth place, 25.23
DIVING - Pfeffer - first place, 123.25 points
100 BUTTERFLY - Kallevig - second place, 1:00.75; Norheim - fifth place, 1:06.24
100 FREESTYLE - Moe - second place, 51.14; Max Jacobson - fourth place, 53.46; Jake Strand - fifth place, 57.25
500 FREESTYLE - Aaseng - first place, 5:14.63; A. Pietrowski - fourth place, 5:33.60; Kyle Pietrowski - sixth place, 6:01.67
200-FREESTYLE RELAY - Moe, Blank, M. Jacobson, Aaseng - second place, 1:37.03; E. Jacobson, McCormick, Tollefson, Norheim - third place, 1:42.99
100 BACKSTROKE - Bartolomeo - third place, 1:04.41; Strand - fourth place, 1:09.26; McCormick - fifth place, 1:12.70
100 BREASTSTROKE - E. Jacobson - second place, 1:07.15; Blank - fourth place, 1:13.95; Gage Winger - sixth place, 1:16.93
400-FREESTYLE RELAY - Moe, Kallevig, M. Jacobson, Aaseng - second place, 3:32.63; Bartolomeo, Tollefson, A. Pietrowski, Strand - fourth place, 4:00.61