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Swimmers grow up at 5A meet

Eric Morken | Echo Press Alexandria’s Max Jacobson swims the 100 freestyle at the Section 5A meet in the Discovery Middle School pool on Saturday afternoon. Jacobson qualified for state by finishing second in the 100 free. He will also go in two relays and the 50 freestyle after winning that in 22.44. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria swimming and diving team was a young group heading into this winter season, but the Section 5A meet on Saturday was a good indication of how much this team has grown throughout the year.

The Cardinals saw time drops from up and down the lineup throughout the prelims and finals at the Discovery Middle School pool. In the end, it was enough to bring home a second-place trophy after earning 361 team points and sending five swimmers on to state in seven different events.

“I think the best thing out of all of this that came from today was I think it showed the underclassmen, the 9th and 10th graders, that they are really a good team,” senior Elliot Jacobson said when asked about the overall finish. “I’m happy that they didn’t feel like they made the Alexandria swim program go downhill. It went up. I think we did really well this year.”

The Cardinals set the tone for a big weekend during Friday’s prelims when they had 28 improvements from their seed times. They then added 14 more from those prelim times during the finals. In all, Alexandria dropped a total of 83 seconds during the championships. Probably the greatest example of improvement came in the 500 freestyle where freshman Eric Welle dropped almost 19 seconds in the prelims to guarantee himself a spot on the podium in eighth place.

The Cardinals finished with 15 top-eight finishes at the meet. That took them from a likely third-place finish to second. Melrose-Sauk Centre beat Alexandria twice during the regular season, but the Cardinals edged them by four points at sections. Fergus Falls won the team meet with 390 points.

“We lost to Melrose-Sauk Centre at True Team as well as in a dual meet, so to beat them by four points this meet is just huge,” senior Mark Kallevig said. “They’ve got a great team and to be able to come out here and compete with them at sections is incredible.”

Kallevig, E. Jacobson and junior Max Jacobson were all a huge part of that success. Kallevig and M. Jacobson will both swim in four events at state and E. Jacobson will swim in three as all three continued to pile up points for this team like they have done all season.

Max shocked the rest of the 50 freestyle field by winning the event after entering with the sixth fastest seed time at 23.51. He proved he could be a threat to win the event by swimming a 22.92 in the prelims and took it a step further in the finals with a new section-record time of 22.44.

“It’s a combination of training really hard, tapering really hard, shaving down as much hair as I possibly can and wearing a nice suit,” Max said with a smile. “That was really excellent. That was my first individual section win, and it’s just really special.”

He will also swim in the 100 freestyle at state after taking second at sections in that event with a time of 55.47. Max Jacobson, E. Jacobson and Kallevig were all part of both the 200-yard medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay teams that qualified for state with second-place finishes.

They joined Brady Wolkow in dropping more than four seconds from their seed time to finish in 1:33.19 in the 200 freestyle relay. Brandon McCormick will join them at state in the 200 medley relay after that group took off more than six seconds from their seed time to finish second in 1:40.09.

“That 200 medley relay that we qualified in, we recorded a really good time today,” M. Jacobson said. “Looking at state from last year, it was enough to get in the top eight so that would be really, really great if we could get in the top eight and get on the podium as far as that race goes.”

Elliot Jacobson broke his own section record from last year in winning the 100 breaststroke on Saturday. He dropped more than two seconds from his prelims time to finish in 1:00.86. That sets him up with the fifth fastest seed time entering the state meet.

“I have a couple goals,” Elliot said of the state meet. “One would be to go under a minute. That would be amazing to do that after all these years of swimming. If I was able to do that that would probably put me in the top eight at state, which would also be awesome.”

Kallevig will also swim in two individual events in addition to the relays after winning the 200 IM and taking second in the 100 butterfly. He dropped 1.40 seconds from his entry time in the butterfly to finish in 55.47 seconds. Kallevig dominated the 200 IM, dropping 5.25 seconds from his seed time to finish in 2:03.59.

“I was really happy when I saw that time because I had no idea I went that fast,” Kallevig said. “I guess one of my goals would be to try to make top eight in the 200 IM, but I know that will be super hard to do. I’ll have to have a great swim, so I guess I want to just do my best and try to make the top 16 so I can swim the second day.”

The Alexandria swimmers competing at the state meet will swim in the prelims starting this Friday at noon. The top 16 swimmers advance to the finals on Saturday, which also start at noon.


TEAM RESULTS – 1. Fergus Falls – 390; 2. Alexandria – 361; 3. Melrose-Sauk Centre – 357; 4. Detroit Lakes – 258; 5. Bemidji – 240; 6. Park Rapids – 237; 7. Perham – 151; 8. Thief River Falls – 105; 9. Morris Area – 58

ALEXANDRIA TOP-16 FINISHES – 200-MEDLEY RELAY – McCormick, E. Jacobson, Kallevig, M. Jacobson – second place, 1:40.09

200 FREESTYLE – Ben Tollefson – 12th place, 2:00.98; Nick Chromey – 14th place, 2:03.53; Riley Maanum – 15th place, 2:04.09

200 IM – Kallevig – first place, 2:03.59; E. Jacobson – fourth place, 2:11.73; McCormick – fifth place, 2:12.43; D’Anthony Moorer – eighth place, 2:15.69

50 FREESTYLE – M. Jacobson – first place, 22.44; Luke Houska – 14th place, 24.14

DIVING – Wolkow – fifth place, 350.75 points; Jackson Grove – ninth place, 278.95; Preston Bowden – 11th place, 270.40; Henri Santelman – 13th place, 254.35

100 BUTTERFLY – Kallevig – second place, 55.47; Moorer – seventh place, 59.40

100 FREESTYLE – M. Jacobson – second place, 49.85; Wolkow – eighth place, 51.97; Houska – 15th place, 53.18

500 FREESTYLE – Tollefson – sixth place, 5:27.54; Eric Welle – eighth place, 5:42.83; Maanum – 15th place, 5:44.59

200 FREESTYLE RELAY – E. Jacobson, Kallevig, Wolkow, M. Jacobson – second place, 1:33.19

100 BACKSTROKE – McCormick – sixth place, 58.84; Josh Flatau – 14th place, 1:07.08; Patrick Chromey – 16th, 1:09.40

100 BREASTSTROKE – E. Jacobson – first place, 1:00.86; N. Chromey – fifth place, 1:06.91; Chad Blank – 13th place, 1:12.01; Welle – 16th place, 1:15.85

400 FREESTYLE RELAY – McCormick, Maanum, Houska, Wolkow – sixth place, 3:35.16

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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