Woodbury Senior Gregory Norsten placed 1st in the 200 Yard Individual Medley with a time of 1:51.80 at the University Aquatics Center in Minneapolis, MN Friday Mar. 2, 2012
Noah Lucas and Greg Norsten have become pretty good friends swimming club together. Their relationship will be put to the test Saturday.
In the high school pool, Lucas competes for Mounds View, Norsten for Woodbury. The 500-yard freestyle should be a dandy.
"It will be down to the wire with those two," Mounds View coach Stephan Brauer said. "Norsten's a real competitor. Those guys have a lot of history."
Sure, the two square off in Suburban East Conference competition, but Friday's Class 2A state preliminaries at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center officially set the table for Saturday's championships. Lucas posted a time of 4 minutes, 35.65 seconds, compared to 4:35.81 for Norsten, a separation of .16 seconds.
Still friendly, Lucas insists.
"It's more of a pushing factor, since you know each other well and it's more friendly competition," Lucas said. "We kind of joke about it before we jump in. 'Hey man, let's go -- let's do this.' "
Norsten, a senior, is the defending 200 individual medley champion, and he could quite possibly escape with two gold medals Saturday. Lucas could capture two as well. He placed fifth in the 200 freestyle last year, and the junior clocked that event's quickest time Friday.
The Mustangs and Royals set themselves up for a solid Saturday, but Eden Prairie, last year's runner-up, is the clear frontrunner.
For starters, last year's Class 2A state meet record holders in the 200 medley relay -- Bryce Boston, Aaron Greenberg, Maverick Hovey and Michael Solfelt -- broke new ground Friday. This time it was Minnesota's all-time state meet record in the 200 freestyle relay with a 1:24.31 mark.
That foursome will not attempt to defend its medley relay championship, but instead hand the torch to a different batch of Eagles, a clear demonstration of coach Kelly Boston's versatility. Eden Prairie has sprinkled its stars through more individual events, and as a result, could dominate Saturday.
Defending champion Minnetonka, Maple Grove and Rosemount have qualifiers to contend.
Word to the wise: Don't touch Paul Fair's 100-yard butterfly.
Somehow that message didn't get through to Fridley's Colter Allen and Simley's Alec Kandt, who finished ahead of the defending champion from Monticello in Friday's Class 1A preliminaries.
"He's not in first in his fly and he doesn't like that," Magic coach Dirk Westveer said. He's going to be a little bit angry."
At 6-foot-3 and more than 200 pounds, Fair is not only smooth in the pool, but he's also a train on the football field. In the past year, the junior put on nearly 20 pounds for football.
"A monster," Westveer said.
Paul said the added strength and weight has transitioned just fine in the pool.
Paul and his twin brother, Jack, are not only part of the Magic's defending champion 200 and 400 freestyle relays, they are also on the same football and tennis teams.
"I like all of those sports," said Paul Fair, who doesn't swim year-round. "Tennis is really fun, even though I'm not very good at it."
He is a good swimmer, though. Fair is also the defending 200 freestyle champ. Jack Fair hopes to ring up some more points in the 100 and 50 freestyle runs.
But entering championship Saturday, Monticello will have some large obstacles to capture the team title -- namely St. Thomas Academy, Richfield and Breck-Blake.
St. Thomas Academy qualified 14 competitors for seven individual event championship heats, along with all three relays. The Cadets will look to win their first state title since 2008, and missed it by only one point last year. Senior Luke Johanns earned automatic All-America honors in the 50-yard freestyle on Friday, along with All-America consideration in the 100 freestyle as the fastest swimmer in both events.
Richfield made its presence felt Friday with eight qualifiers in six championship heats. Three relay teams will also go for titles.
Speedy junior Mitch Foster of Breck-Blake is hoping to reclaim his 100 backstroke title. With a time of 49.35 seconds, Foster set the Class 1A state meet record in that event last year. He also won the event in 2009.
Foster also was the leading candidate and quickest 200-yard individual medley swimmer from Friday's prelims. Breck-Blake qualified six boys in four individual championship events, along with three relay teams.
In the 500 freestyle, Tanner Alms of Red Wing returns after setting the Class 1A state meet record as a freshman last year. Sartell-St. Stephen senior Tanner Nordlund carries a 20.6-point lead over Willmar's Bennett Woltjer in 1-meter diving.
Tag(s): News Featured Star Tribune Suburban East Sartell-St. Stephen Willmar Richfield Simley Eden Prairie Minnetonka Monticello Red Wing Fridley Maple Grove Rosemount Mounds View Woodbury Blake Breck