Breck/Blake teammates posed with the Class 1A trophy Saturday after winning their fourth consecutive state championship. Photo: Heather Rule, special to the Star Tribune
Three of the four Class 1A state records that fell on Saturday came from Winona swimmers.
The Winhawks had record-setting relays in the 200-yard and 400 freestyle events, plus senior Grant Wolner set a record in the 100 butterfly at the boys’ swimming and diving state meet at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota.
Wolner defended his title in the butterfly with a record-setting 49.28. Having hit 50.02 in the preliminaries, he saw the 49.35 record in the program and put the number in the back of his head for the final race.
“I was pretty stoked,” Wolner said. “Just to get under by that little of a margin is huge.”
Besides, his coach has always told him he’s more of a finals swimmer. Wolner enjoys the atmosphere of the state meet, saying he likes “to get jacked up” and excited.
Wolner also swam on the winning relays, along with senior teammates Alex Jorgenson, Tanner Lozenski and Jack Herczeg, and finished third in the 200 individual medley (1:50.81).
Herczeg won the 200 freestyle (1:40.29) and defended his 100 freestyle title, just missing his own record. His finals time was a 44.63 compared to his 44.62 in the preliminaries. He said he swam just as good if not better in the 100 freestyle in the finals compared to the preliminaries.
“At least I was consistent,” Herczeg said. “That’s the big thing. If you can be consistently fast, that’s huge. I’m just glad to stay under 45 for the second time ever.”
Fourth straight for Breck/Blake
Breck/Blake led from start to finish with points in all but one event to secure a fourth consecutive Class 1A team title. Breck/Blake finished with 342 points ahead of St. Thomas Academy (232) in second and Sartell-St. Stephen (218) in third place.
“At the beginning of the season, we never stress outcome,” Breck/Blake co-head coach Michelle Carlson said. “We always tell them to focus on the process.”
Sophomore Charlie Crosby, a 6-7 swimmer, was part of all three event victories for Breck/Blake. He swam the backstroke leg of the victorious 200 medley relay (1:32.66), then won the 50 freestyle in 20.41, nearly breaking his own record from the preliminaries (20.31). He also won the 100 backstroke (48.51).
Opdahl wins diving
Chisago Lakes Area sophomore Storm Opdahl led after preliminaries and went on to win the Class 1A diving title with a 470.15 score.
More records, more championships for Karpenko
Last year when Andrew Karpenko of Minnehaha Academy swam to two records in the preliminaries and two in the finals for a pair of individual state championships, he said it was the best meet of his life.
So, where does Saturday’s performance rank?
“This was another phenomenal meet for me,” Karpenko said. “This one is just icing on the cake for the whole four years. It’s hard to put into words just how satisfied and happy I am with how the season ended up.”
The senior broke his own record from the preliminaries in the 100 breaststroke, defending his title with a new Class 1A record time of 54.22, just under the 54.26 from the day before. He also won the 200 individual medley for the third consecutive year (1:48.92).
100-yard butterfly: Grant Wolner, Winona, 49.28. Previous: 49.35 by Paul Flair, Monticello, 2012.
200 freestyle relay: Winona (Jack Herczeg, Alex Jorgenson, Wolner, Tanner Lozenski), 1:23.84. Previous: 1:24.87 by Monticello, 2013.
100-yard butterfly: Andrew Karpenko, Minnehaha Academy, 54.22. Previous: 54.26 by Karpenko, in preliminaries on Friday.
400 freestyle relay: Winona (Jorgenson, Lozenski, Wolner, Herczeg), 3:05.61. Previous: 3:06.11 by St. Thomas Academy, 2016.