1/30/2014 3:59:00 PM Chisago Lakes drops fastest times of year despite grueling schedule
Jake Doble completes his dive at the Bluejacket Invite last week in front of the Cambridge record board. Ironically, Doble broke the pool record for 11 dives with his 464.75. Head Coach Brian McNally also believes Doble broke the school record with the series of dives.
by JEFF NORTON
Wading past some of the best Mississippi 8 Conference teams was tough early in the season for the Chisago Lakes boys swimming and diving team, but they got two big confidence boosters in last week. The first was a 96-85 M8C win over Princeton that looks closer than it was. The ‘Cats swam the last two events as exhibition because they had such a large lead.
“Our swimmers have really been getting into a routine of swimming fast at meets despite lots of hard training. They always learn how to get excited and race, especially for a conference meet,” Head Coach Brian McNally said. “We did very well at Princeton, winning nine of the 12 events. Our guys knew that Princeton is a young team, but they have some top talent, especially in the sprints. They are building a strong team based on youth, and they could be a strong opponent in the next couple of years.” But this year, Chisago Lakes had their number. The wins started with the 200 medley relay team, where Jake Ewert, James Falkowski, Riley Darling and Austin Turman won their even with a time of 1:44.78, 10 seconds faster than Princeton’s top team.
“We began the meet on a high note, winning the 200 yard medley relay. We were trying to break their pool record, but fell just .38 seconds short of the mark. It was fun to see the guys chase a lofty goal like that and respond positively,” McNally explained. In the 200 free, Darling, Turman and Derek Frank went one-two-three to create a huge early lead. Ewert and Falkowski went one-two in the 200 individual medley. Ewert’s time of 2:12.56 was head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Jake Doble dominated the diving event, winning with a score of 288.65 Jake Carlson came in third place for the ‘Cats. Darling, Charles Olson and Andrew Gombold grabbed three of the top four spots in the 100 fly, and Darling’s 55.57 second run was 12 seconds faster than Dustin Moinichen of Princeton, who finished second.
The Wildcats got another one-two-three sweep in the 500 free. Turman, Andrew Steward and Kyle Tysk all finished before a Princeton swimmer touched. Ewert flew through the 100 backstroke, winning the event in 1:00.63. In the 100 breaststroke is when the ‘Cats went exhibition, but Falkowski and Braun would’ve finished one-two. Same with the quartet of Ewert, Frank, Turman and Darling in the 400 free relay. “We had a few guys trying out different events, in order to finalize some of our decisions for the section roster. Riley Darling swam the 200 freestyle and won the event. Austin Turman returned to his main race from a year ago and won the 500 freestyle,” McNally said after the meet. “Other than that, guys pretty much stuck to their normal events. They know how to get their heads in the game and race well under pressure, and during the hardest phase of their training.”
Bluejacket Invitational The Wildcats didn’t quite win the Bluejacket Invite in Cambridge, but they beat the teams they were supposed to, and only fell to Elk River, a Class AA team they won’t see at sections or state. The Elks scored 576 points and Chisago Lakes had 479.5. Cambridge-Isanti was third with 328.5 points. “In order to prepare for our taper meets -- JV Championships for the JV guys, and sections for varsity -- I have been pushing them harder and harder in practice. I sort of expected them to swim ‘normal’ times. Yet, they responded and swam a bunch of really fast times,” an impressed McNally said. The Wildcats used their strong 200 medley relay team to jump out to a quick start. Ewert, Falkowski, Darling and Turman teamed up yet again for a first place finish in the event, finishing in 1:45.19 and earning 40 points. Turman kept the wave surging, earning first place in the 200 free in the second event of the day. Frank was even able to grab a third place in the event.
In the 200 IM, Ewert finished in second place with a time of 2:09.45. He shaved four seconds off his seed time and gave Nick Kopp of Elk River a run for his money. Kopp finished in 2:09.12. Darling earned the ‘Cats 15 points with a fourth place finish in the 50 free. The event isn’t one he normally swims, but the ‘Cats needed points in the event. Doble ran away with the diving portion of the event, putting up 464.75 points, winning by nearly 30 points in the 13-person field. Darling kept the good vibes rolling on the Wildcat side of the pool, winning the 100 fly in 54.35 seconds. Nobody was close to him at the end of the race, with Tyler Zelen of Duluth coming in four seconds behind. Turman, back to his roots as a distance swimmer, won the 500 free handily, finishing in 5:25.
The Elks foursome won the 200 free while CL’s team of Falkowski, Doble, Carlson and Frank came in fourth. In the 100 backstroke, Ewert finished in third place with a time of 1:00.13. Falkowski and Braun had an impressive showing in the 100 breaststroke. Falkowski won the event with a time of 1:03.78 and Braun came in third with a time of 1:11.14. And the ‘Cats closed out the meet with one last win in the 400 free relay. Ewert, Frank, Turman and Darling scored 40 points for CL when they finished the race in 3:29.68, besting the Elk River team by seven seconds. Where the Elks really built their lead, however, was in their depth.
As a bigger school, they have more swimmers than the ‘Cats and they tallied a lot more finishes in the top 10 than the ‘Cats did, despite CL winning seven of the 12 events. “Elk River was a tough team, and they won the meet in deserving fashion. We knew it would come down to us and them. We had the top talent, but they beat us with depth,” McNally said. “We won two of the three relays, and they won the other one. Beyond that, they took second in the two that they did not win.”
But, the loss didn’t diminish how proud McNally was of his guys after the meet. They came in there tired and they competed with a big, talented school. “This is the most complete meet that I have seen them put together as a team this year. We excelled in this meet,” he said. “I couldn't be more thrilled with how they performed. It was very rewarding as a coach to watch them exceed my expectations and earn a bunch of points, medals, and ribbons despite being in the toughest part of our season.”
Individual Achievements: Austin Turman (10th grade) won all 4 of his events. (200 Free - Big time drop) (500 Free, 200 Medley relay, and 400 free relay).
Jake Ewert medaled in all of his events, finishing no worse than third all day. He also swam a personal best time in the 200 IM (beating his time from state last year)
James Falkowski was part of the winning 200 medley relay, and won the 100 breaststroke.
Jake Doble won the diving meet, set a pool record at Cambridge, and I believe broke our team record for 11 dives with an amazing score of 464.75.
Riley Darling bested his own fast time in the 100 butterfly with a scorching time of 54.35.
Derek Frank set a new personal best and came in 3rd in the 200 freestyle, while also swimming a leg on the winning 400 freestyle relay team.
Jake Carlson swam some key relay legs as well as finishing 4th in diving.
The 400 freestyle relay team has largely been together all season. It is the relay that McNally has changed the least. They had two big time drops last week and he thought they would sort of plateau off for a while during the hard training. Instead they dropped more than two seconds as a group and swam their fastest time of the year. They won the meet (convincingly with a time of 3:29.68). Their previous best time was a 3:32.1. The next fastest team (from Elk River) was more than seconds behind them. “That is really rare for an invite meet like this,” McNally said. “It was a really fun and rewarding way to cap off the meet. They are swimming fast right now and everything just seems to be clicking. We look forward to continuing our momentum as we finish off our dual meet season and prepare for sections.”