PREP SWIMMING: Stingrays qualify 34 swimmers for state meet
MANKATO -- Qualifying swimmers for the state championship swim meet is supposed to be a tough task.
The Worthington YMCA Stingrays, however, qualified 34 swimmers for the event during a highly successful performance at the sectional meet in Mankato on Saturday.
Teams from Austin, Albert Lea, Mankato and Winona also competed at the meet, which was hosted by the Stingrays.
Participants that finished in the top-three in each event automatically qualified for the state meet, but there are still open lanes and alternate positions to be filled, meaning that even more Stingrays could potentially be headed for the state meet.
Several Stingrays clocked some of their personal best times in the meet, including Cameron Jenson.
Jenson qualified for his sixth event for the even more elite regional meet by swimming a qualifying time in winning the boys' 12 & under 200-yard freestyle. He will attempt to qualify in the 500-yard freestyle -- his seventh regional event, the maximum number allowed per swimmer -- at the state meet.
Jenson also won the boys 12 & under 500-yard freestyle and 50-yard breaststroke on Saturday, and was a member of two winning relay teams.
Jenson, Eli Gaul, Bryan Doeden and Justin Paulzine combined to win the boys' 12 & under 200-yard freestyle relay, and Jenson, Doeden, Paulzine and Alex Baustian combined to win the boys' 12 & under 200-yard medley relay.
Tim Skog also won all three of his individual races -- the boys' 18 & under 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke-- and Oliver Wolyniec finished first in the boys' 14 & under 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle and was second in the boys' 14 & under 100-yard breaststroke.
Skog, Dillon Pedersen, Gordy Moore and Matt Sorensen combined to win the boys' 18 & under 200-yard freestyle relay, and Baustian, Porter Elsing, Nathan Johnson and David Etzel were second in the same race. Skog, Sorensen, Pedersen and Moore also combined to win the boys' 18 & under 200-yard medley relay.
Wolyniec, Levi Blanchard, Ben Doeden and Adrian Manzo won the boys' 14 & under 200-yard freestyle relay, and Megan Meier, Brittany Saulsgiver, Macy Baerenwald and Nicole Janssen won the girls' 18 & under 200-yard medley relay. Eight other Worthington relay teams earned either second or third place finishes.
The Stingrays had five other first place finishes on Saturday.
Ben Doeden won the boys' 14 & under 100-yard butterfly, Janssen won the girls' 18 & under 200-yard individual medley relay, Pedersen won the boys' 18 & under 200-yard freestyle, Saulsgiver won the girls' 18 & under 100-yard butterfly and Sorensen won the boys' 18 & under 100-yard breaststroke.
Baerenwald and Paulzine each earned a trio of third place finishes, and Blanchard and Moore had two of their own. Sammy Farra, Nicole Janssen and Sarah Janssen all added a third place finish.
Sorensen earner a pair of second place finishes, and Ben Doeden, Etzel, Manzo, Moore, Pedersen and Saulsgiver all had a single second place finish.
A total of 223 swimmers between the ages of six and 18 participated in the meet -- 48 from Worthington -- and coach Donna AC passed on her congratulations to all the Stingray parents that helped to host the meet.
The state championships will be held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center on Sunday, Feb. 13.