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New format, familiar result: Edina swimmers repeat as 2A state champions

By JOEL RIPPEL, Star Tribune, 03/19/21, 9:30PM CDT

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The Hornets didn't win an event but had at least one athlete in every event as well as all three relay teams. Meanwhile, St. Louis Park's Hayden Zheng added two more individual state titles.


Hayden Zheng (pink cap) of St. Louis Park swam to his third consecutive victory in the 200 IM Friday and later took the 100 breaststroke at the Class 2A state meet at the University of Minnesota. Photo provided by Minnesota State High School League

The format was different, but one thing remained the same at the Class 2A boys’ swimming and diving state meet:

For the second consecutive year, Edina displayed its depth by winning the state title without winning an individual event. The Hornets finished with 302 points Friday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center to earn their third consecutive state title and 13th state title overall.

“After our section meet, we knew we had the most qualifiers for this meet,” Edina coach Scott Johnson said, “double that of the next most.”

The Hornets had advanced 13 swimmers or divers — at least one in each event — and all three relay teams to the state meet, which was held without preliminary races in favor of a one-race-and-done format. The changes, including no spectators at the meet, were made in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

Edina was led by second-place finishes by junior Kai Taft in the 200 individual medley and junior Patrick Horton in the 100 backstroke. Edina relay teams finished second in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle.

“Kai set a team record in the 200 IM,” Johnson said, “and Patrick set a team record in the 100 backstroke. It’s really nice to go win a meet and achieve some team records at the same time. That’s a bonus.”

Chanhassen/Chaska, which finished as runner-up to the Hornets for the third consecutive year, defended its titles in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Stormhawks won with a state meet record time of 1:22.54. The time broke the record of 1:23.49 set by Eden Prairie in 2017.

The Stormhawks, who finished with 201 points, closed out the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:02.72. That time was just 1.13 seconds shy of the state record.

St. Louis Park senior Hayden Zheng earned his third consecutive state title in the 200 individual medley. In the 100 breaststroke, Zheng won his fourth consecutive state title in 54.08. The time was .18 seconds shy of his state record of 53.86 set in 2019.

St. Cloud Tech senior Chris Morris won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly titles. In the 200 freestyle, Morris won the event in a state meet record time of 48.11 — breaking the oldest existing state meet record of 48.20 set in 1995 by Bloomington Jefferson’s Martin Zielinski.

Stillwater senior Will Whittington won the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle titles.

Eden Prairie sophomore Luke Logue won the 100 backstroke with a time of 49.59. Logue also team with Alex Deng, Artem Demidov and Wilson Ellis to win the 200 medley relay in 1:31.36.

Maple Grove senior Jackson Brown won the 500 free with a time of 4:28.81.

Click here for complete results of Friday's competition.

Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, spectators and media  were not allowed onsite at the swimming and diving state meet.

Edina coach Scott Johnson, right, talks with J.J. Dewing, left, and Max Dow after they swam in their 200 yard freestyle event Friday at the Class 2A swimming and diving state meet at the University of Minnesota. Dow finished sixth in the race and Dewing was ninth as the Hornets, without winning an event, captured the state title for the second consecutive year. Photo provided by Minnesota State High School League

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