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Despite changes, Cards swim on

Elliot Jacobson swims in the 200 IM during Alexandria’s meet against Fergus Falls on Tuesday night. Jacobson took third in that event and added a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:04.86. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

A lineup full of fresh faces has not prevented the Alexandria swimming and diving team from staying competitive this season.

After having individuals and relay teams participate in nearly every event at the state meet last year, many of those swimmers have graduated and the team is working with a very different roster. Last season, Alexandria finished 17th among 38 teams in the Class A state meet.

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“We had 12 seniors and seven out of our top 10 scorers leave us,” head coach Mark Storhaug said. “That’s not good. It’s hard to replace that kind of scoring power.”

On Tuesday the Cardinals were unable to keep up with Fergus Falls’ top swimmers in a 103-82 loss at Discovery Middle School. Alexandria managed just three first place finishes from junior Max Jacobson in the 50 freestyle, senior Ben Tollefson in the 500 freestyle and senior Elliot Jacobson in the 100 breaststroke.

The Cardinal swimmers knew heading into this season they would have a completely different team and are working hard to fill those spots left by last season’s graduating seniors.

“Right away at the beginning of the season we knew that was going to happen and we just told everybody that we were going to try to fill those shoes the best we can,” Elliot Jacobson said. “I think we’re making the most of it.”

In the first few weeks of practice the Cardinals identified where the holes in the lineup were and who would fill them. Many of the freshmen on the team stepped right into the varsity lineup without any experience on the junior varsity.

“We knew it was going to be kind of a hard year after losing all those seniors,” senior Mark Kallevig said. “But the first week everyone saw open spots that they could fill and everyone is working hard in practice just trying to fill all the gaps and it is coming together really nicely.”

The roster is much smaller now than it has been in the previous few years. The Cardinals only have six seniors and two juniors, but incoming freshmen make up the largest group with 11 swimmers.

“It’s just such a small team that everybody now feels how important their position is, regardless of where they swim in the lineup,” Elliot Jacobson said. “That’s probably the biggest benefit of having a small team.”

Alexandria has been able to hold its own early on this season. The Cardinals are 1-3 overall this season and finished second out of 11 teams in the Tiger Division of the Maroon and Gold Invitational, which is the same result they achieved in five of the last six years.

Storhaug said seniors Kallevig, Elliot Jacobson and Brandon McCormick should have a good shot to qualify for the state meet as individuals. He also expects at least one relay team to have a shot at a state appearance, likely the 400 medley relay.

“I think we’ll get one relay in there,” Storhaug said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”

The Cardinals had another opportunity to pick up a win against a conference opponent Thursday, yesterday, in a meet against St. Cloud Tech at Discovery Middle School.


ALEXANDRIA – 200 MEDLEY RELAY – Second place – McCormick, E. Jacobson, Kallevig, Wolkow, 1:47.16; Third place – Flatau, Chromey, Moorer, Bowen, 2:00.27

200 FREESTYLE – Second place – Chromey, 2:05.14; Third place – Tollefson, 2:07.60

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY – Second Place – Kallevig, 2:12.10; Third place – E. Jacobson, 2:17.24; Fifth place, Moorer – 2:22.08

50 FREESTYLE – First place – M. Jacobson, 23.65; Fifth place – Houska – 26.38

DIVING – Third place – Wolkow, 199.05; Fourth place, 133.70

100 BUTTERFLY – Second place – Kallevig, 58.80; Fourth place – Moorer, 1:06.12; Fifth place – Serie, 1:17.76

100 FREESTYLE – Second place – Jacobson, 53.17; Fifth place – McCormick, 55.03

500 FREESTYLE – First place – Tollefson, 5:46.71; Second place – Welle, 6:00.59; Fourth place – Maanum, 6:07.04

200 FREESTYLE RELAY – Second place – E. Jacobson, Houska, Wolkow, M. Jacobson, 1:38.83; Third place – Moorer, Bowen, Hvezda, Vinje, 1:49.37

100 BACKSTROKE – Third place – McCormick, 1:01.82; Fifth place – Flatau, 1:10.01

100 BREASTSTROKE – First place – E. Jacobson, 1:04.86; Second place – Chromey, 1:08.31; Fifth place – Welle, 1:19.02

400 YARD FREESTYLE RELAY – Second place – Kallevig, Wolkow, McCormick, Jacobson, 3:37.98

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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