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Class 1A: Breck/Blake makes a record day of the state meet

By HEATHER RULE, Special to the Star Tribune, 03/05/22, 6:30PM CST

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The Bearstangs won nine of the 12 events and posted the highest score in state meet history.


James Pan celebrated success in the 200 individual medley on a day Breck/Blake dominated. Photo by SHARI L. GROSS, Star Tribune

Breck/Blake didn’t simply win another boys’ swimming and diving team championship. The Bearstangs were nearly perfect.

They won nine of 12 events for a whopping 495.5 points, the most for any championship team, and took home their sixth consecutive Class 1A title Saturday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. Alexandria finished second with 203 points, St. Thomas Academy third with 172.

“We knew we had a shot at a lot of records,” said Breck/Blake co-head coach Michelle Carlson. “But the actual dominance of the meet is unheard of, especially with the times that we got in the relays and individual events.”

The 200 medley relay was a five-peat for Breck/Blake. Senior Charlie Crosby went undefeated in races this season, winning the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke at state for the third straight year.

Crosby called Breck/Blake probably "the best high school team Minnesota has ever had. And it was just a blessing to be a part of that.”

Breck/Blake senior James Pan defended his titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. He and Crosby also swam on two winning relays.

Breck/Blake finished the meet with another record, 3 minutes, 2.09 seconds in the 400 freestyle relay, about 11 seconds faster than second place and just missing the state record of 3:01.59.

“3:02 I think is already really insane for any high school team,” Pan said. “Even in a club team to compete with. I think it was the perfect note for me and Crosby to go out with.”

In the three events Breck/Blake didn’t win — diving, 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle — it had multiple participants score points.

The Bearstangs’ 495.5 points beat the previous mark of 466, set by St. Thomas Academy in 2001.

Breck/Blake’s previous best mark for team points at state was 423 points in 2019. Either St. Thomas or Breck/Blake has won all Class 1A boys’ state swimming and diving team titles going back to 1999, except for 2004 (Sauk Rapids-Rice) and 2011 (Fergus Falls).

Six consecutive team boys’ swimming and diving state titles is one shy of the record seven in a row won by Rochester from 1953-59.

Simley senior Nico Losinski was the only swimmer to break a record in the Class 1A meet not from the Breck/Blake team. He swam a 4:34.46 in the 500 freestyle, successfully defending his title and breaking the Class 1A record. Losinski said he can usually tell at about the 200 mark how he’s feeling.

“I felt very smooth at the 200, so I knew it was going to be a good swim from there,” Losinski said.

Losinski also finished second (1:38.95) to Breck/Blake’s Charlie Egeland in the 200 freestyle.

“I think it’s pretty awesome to represent my small school of Simley,” said Losinski, who’s committed to swim at Wisconsin-Green Bay in college. “And be able to show off what my coach Lynn Newton is capable of doing with swimmers not grown from a private school with not a lot of funds. I think it’s pretty awesome to give some recognition to a school like that.”

For Hutchinson, sophomore Conner Hogan won the 100 butterfly (50.12), finished second in the 100 backstroke and swam on the fourth-place 200 medley relay and fifth-place 400 freestyle relay teams.

Chisago Lakes shines in diving

Senior Storm Opdahl made it a three-peat in Class 1A state diving, winning by one point at 478.15 over Monticello senior Dakotah Parker. Opdahl said he knew it would be close coming into the final dives.

“I knew Dakotah had three good dives left, and I knew it was going to take a lot to do it,” Opdahl said. “Just barely edged him out today, so that felt nice.”

Opdahl’s teammates Jimmy Nord and Tobie Stiles took third and fourth place.

Edina wins fourth in a row

The Edina boys’ swim team celebrated its fourth consecutive team title by taking turns with a Sharpie, making checkmarks on the back of their T-shirts next to “check the box.”

“This has been a motto of Mr. Johnson’s as long as I can remember since I was a freshman,” said Edina senior Kai Taft. “Obviously this is one of our biggest goals ever.”

That goal included Edina sweeping all three relays and Taft winning the 200-yard individual medley on the way to a Class 2A team title Saturday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus.

Edina scored points in all 11 swimming events for 355 total points. Eden Prairie finished second with 200 points, and Minnetonka took third with 170 points. Edina is the first Class 2A school to win four straight team titles since Minnetonka did it in the single-class state meet in 1990-93.

“We hadn’t won an [individual or relay] event since 2019,” said Edina coach Scott Johnson. “But this year it’s very special because we’re only the second big-team school to ever win all three relays. Minnetonka did it in 1992.”

Taft won the 200 IM in 1:48.85, took second in the 100 breaststroke, plus he swam on the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

“I’ve been working my way up every year,” Taft said, who’s been in the 200 IM state event since he was a freshman. “So to finally get it, it just means so much.”

Freshman wins diving title

Rosemount freshman Lucas Gerten trailed heading into his final dive, but his score was just enough to put him in the lead and then win the Class 2A diving state title with a 419.40 score. He narrowly beat St. Paul Highland Park senior Tanner Zeise (418.00), who led headed into the finals and through his second dive on Saturday.

AWASH IN RECORDS
Records set and rankings adjusted Saturday in the Class 1A state swimming championships:
TEAM
Most points by a team, 
Class 1A meet

Breck/Blake    495.5    2022
St. Thomas Acad.     466     2001
St. Thomas Acad.    430    2016
Breck/Blake    423    2019
Breck/Blake    418.5    2021
Class 1A titles since 1999
St. Thomas Acad.    14
Breck/Blake    8
Fergus Falls    1
Sauk Rapids/Rice     1
RACES
200 medley relay: Breck/Blake 1:29.28. Charlie Crosby, Charlie Egeland, James Pan, Daniel Gabriel. Previous: 1:31.26 by Breck/Blake, 2019. 
200 freestyle: Charlie Egeland, Breck/Blake, 1:38.00. Previous: 1:39.79 by Warren Sexson, St. Thomas Academy, 2016. 
500 freestyle: Nico Losinski, Simley, 4:34.46. Previous: 4:35.36 by Warren Sexson, St. Thomas Academy, 2016. 
400 freestyle relay: Breck/Blake 3:02.09. Charlie Crosby, Jack Schurtz-Ford, Henry Webb, James Pan. Previous: 3:05.61 by Winona, 2020. 
400 freestyle relay, first leg: Charlie Crosby, Breck/Blake, 44.10. 
50 freestyle: Charlie Crosby, Breck/Blake, 19.57. Previous: 19.72 by Crosby, 2022 prelims.

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