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State Class A swimming and diving meet: Cardinals well represented in finals

Alexandria's Kris Aaseng stared at the scoreboard, waiting for his time to be posted after touching the wall in the 500 freestyle on Saturday. Aaseng was all-state in the event for the second straight season. Eric Morken, Echo Press

Kris Aaseng was the only Alexandria swimmer to make it to the final day of the Class A state swim meet a year ago. This time around, the Cardinal senior had plenty of company from his teammates at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Alexandria was represented in five races on Saturday after sending 10 swimmers into the prelims on Friday. Aaseng was once again the headliner as he shot for a top three finish in the 500 freestyle. In the end, it wasn't quite in the cards as he came up just short by finishing fourth in a time of 4:50.52.

"It's disappointing," Aaseng said. "Off my seed time, I should have gotten third. I was 4:48 so to see it end up 4:50, I don't know. I'll take it. It's not too much of a difference. It's just two seconds."

The difference between third and fourth came down to the final 25 yards of the race. Aaseng and Melrose-Sauk Centre's Felipe Barreto were swimming stride for stride, and Aaseng saw that out of the corner of his eye. He thought he had him, but Barreto had just enough kick to touch the wall in front of him with a time of 4:50.23.

It was a similar result in the 200 freestyle earlier that day. Aaseng finished 11th in a time of 1:46.90. Once again, it was Barreto who finished right in front of him in 10th place in a time of 1:46.76.

"To see that with the same guy twice in the day is kind of disappointing," Aaseng said.

Aaseng was content with the kind of day and the kind of career he had for this Cardinals team. He will go out as one of the top distance swimmers in program history and a two-time all-state swimmer after taking fourth in the 500 a year ago. He holds the school record in that event with a time of 4:48.50 and posted the second fastest time in the 200 as well.

"I did more than I ever thought I would be able to do," Aaseng said. "I'm happy with whatever. I got all-conference, all-section, all-state, so I've done everything I ever wanted to."

Aaseng was one of seven seniors who ended their careers at the state meet this past weekend. Eric Moe, Aaron Pietrowski, Zac Bartolomeo, Sean Norheim, Kyle Blank and Jake Strand all did the same.

Six of those seniors made it to the finals on Saturday. Pietrowski ended up 12th in the 500 freestyle (5:01.80). Bartolomeo and Norheim joined Elliot Jacobson and Mark Kallevig in the 200-medley relay to finish 12th (1:43.23). Moe and Blank then teamed up with Max Jacobson and Aaseng to take 13th in the 200-freestyle relay with a time of 1:31.65.

Elliot Jacobson finished off the final day for Alexandria with his race in the 100 breaststroke. The junior finished right near his prelims time to take 10th overall in a time of 1:01.72. That helped the Cardinals finish 21st in the team standings with 30 team points. Perennial power St. Thomas Academy won the Class A championship with 330 points. It was the 11th state championship for the Cadets since Minnesota went to a two-class system in 1998. Three new individual Class A records also fell this past weekend. Red Wing's Tanner Alms had one of the more noticeable ones as the junior shattered his own Class A state record in the 500 and grabbed his third straight state title with a time of 4:36.73.

"It's amazing down here," Alexandria head coach Mark Storhaug said. "I enjoy coming down here all the time. It never ceases to amaze me how fast people can go and how much better everyone is getting every year. Then those freaky, phenomenal swims that some people can put up there, it's just fun to be down here."

Storhaug wanted his athletes to simply enjoy that experience. An opportunity to swim against these kinds of athletes doesn't happen every day. That's why no matter what happened over the weekend, advancing 10 Cardinal swimmers to the state meet was going to be a success for this program.

"I think the senior leadership and the nucleus we had down here [is what I'll remember the most]," head coach Mark Storhaug said of this team. "These are the hardest working guys, and they're really close. I said [Friday night], 'This is fun. Go out there and have some fun.' I think that's what we did. We had fun together, had fun supporting each other and cheering each other on. They're all good buddies, and it was a great all-around weekend for Alexandria swimming as far as I'm concerned."



ALEXANDRIA - 200-MEDLEY RELAY - Bartolomeo, E. Jacobson, Kallevig, Norheim - 12th place, 1:43.23

200 FREESTYLE - Aaseng - 11th place, 1:46.90

500 FREESTYLE - Aaseng - fourth place, 4:50.52; Pietrowski - 12th place, 5:01.80

200-FREESTYLE RELAY - Moe, Blank, M. Jacobson, Aaseng - 13th place, 1:31.65

100 BREASTSTROKE - E. Jacobson - 10th place, 1:01.72


200-MEDLEY RELAY - Bartolomeo, E. Jacobson, Kallevig, Norheim - 12th place, 1:43.33

200 FREESTYLE - Aaseng - 10th place, 1:46.20; M. Jacobson - 18th place, 1:50.62

200 IM - Kallevig - 17th place, 2:06.51

50 FREESTYLE - Moe - 21st place, 23.02

100 BUTTERFLY - Kallevig - 22nd place, 56.94

100 FREESTYLE - Moe - 25th place, 50.25

500 FREESTYLE - Aaseng - third place, 4:49.98; Pietrowski - 10th place, 5:01.25

200 FREESTYLE RELAY - Moe, Blank, M. Jacobson, Aaseng - 12th place, 1:31.47

100 BACKSTROKE - Bartolomeo - 18th place, 58.58

100 BREASTSTROKE - E. Jacobson - 10th place, 1:01.47

400 FREESTYLE RELAY - Moe, Strand, M. Jacobson, Aaseng - 19th place, 3:24.61

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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