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Swimming and diving awards: Recognition all around for Alexandria

The Cardinals honor a season that ended with a second straight runner-up finish at the Class A level.

Alexandria swimming and diving award winners
Alexandria swimming and diving team-award winners are (left to right) Adi Newman, Rookie of the Year; Eli Biggers, hardest worker; Cooper Running, most improved; Kyler Kavanagh, most improved; Luke Christenson, Rookie of the Year; and Nicolas Welle, High Point Award.
Contributed photo

ALEXANDRIA — An undefeated dual-meet season, a section true team title and fifth-place finish at true team state, a Section 5A championship and a runner-up Class A finish at state. That all added up to a lot to celebrate for the Alexandria boys swimming and diving team.

Senior Nicolas Welle earned Alexandria’s High Point Award during its season-ending banquet. Welle had all-state finishes in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, along with the 200-medley and 200-freestyle relays. He set a new Alexandria program record in the butterfly in the finals of the state meet with his time of 50.35. That beat his own record in the butterfly that he had just set from the section meet a week earlier.

Welle leaves the Cardinals to swim at Division I Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) after being part of four school records at Alexandria. Those came in the 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle (46.05), 50 freestyle (20.74) and the 200-medley relay (1:36.96) with sophomore Eric Peterson, junior Logan Tung and senior Carter Holm.

Cooper Running and diver Kyler Kavanagh shared the team’s Most Improved Award. Running had a third-place finish in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle at the section meet to qualify for state in both events where he was 19th in the IM and 17th in the 500 freestyle.

Kavanagh finished 14th in diving at the state meet as an 8th-grader as he totaled 321.45 points.

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Eli Biggers earned the Cardinals’ Hardest Worker Award. Biggers was an all-section performer in the 200 freestyle at the 5A meet by finishing eighth in that event.

The team’s Rookie of the Year Award was shared by Luke Christenson and Adi Newman. Christenson was eighth in the 500 freestyle at the section meet, while Newman was sixth in the 100 butterfly.

Junior Erik Reineke has already been voted as a team captain for the 2022-23 season. Reineke was an individual section runner-up in the 100 and 200 freestyles. He finished 15th in the 200 and 19th in the 100 at the state meet.

Reineke was also part of the third-place finishing 200-medley relay team, and the second-place finishing 400-freestyle relay team at state.

Alexandria’s honors from the Section 5A meet included Welle earning the swimmer of the year award, Caden Kavanagh earning the diver of the year award, head coach Kathy Walker earning the coach of the year award, and Aaron Rooney earning the section’s diving coach of the year honor. Carter Holm, Anthony Hoyt, Logan Tung, and Nicolas Welle were also Central Lakes Conference Athletes of the week throughout the season.

In addition to all the success in the pool, the Cardinals also earned a silver academic award with a team GPA between 3.5 and 3.75.

ALEXANDRIA SWIM AND DIVE ADDITIONAL HONORSALL STATE - Anthony Hoyt - 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle;Carter Holm - 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay; Nicolas Welle - 200 medley relay, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay; Eric Peterson - 200 medley relay; Logan Tung - 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay; Erik Reineke - 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay; HONORABLE-MENTION ALL STATE - Erik Reineke - 200 freestyle; Logan Tung - 200 IM, 100 breaststroke; Caden Kavanagh - diving; Kyler Kavanagh - diving; Eric Peterson - 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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