Two Watertown-Mayer/Waconia/Delano/Holy Family swimmers and divers will compete in three events at this week’s Class AA state swimming and diving championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center after qualifying last week at the Section 6AA meet in Edina.
Zach Holman qualified for both the 200-yard Individual Medley and the 100-yard freestyle by meeting the state qualifying standard, and sophomore diver Tristan Gens qualified for state by virtue of his fourth-place finish in that competition.
This will mark the fourth year in a row a member of the Gens family has represented the Royals at state. For the last three years, it has been Dustin Gens, who finished second in the state last year, and last weekend won the Summit League 3-meter championship for the University of South Dakota. This year, it will be his younger brother making the trip to state.
“The first half of the meet he was diving pretty average for his standards,” said the team’s diving coach, Jen Mell, who added that Gens needed to move up from sixth to fourth heading into the final round in order to qualify. “We both knew he could perform better. His last three dives, he knew he had to step it up. The first two dives in the final round were both pretty solid, and then his last dive he just nailed.”
Holman’s two qualifications came because he beat the state qualifying standard. He finished in fifth place in the 100-yard freestyle, but his time of 48.03 seconds was below the standard of 49.03 seconds. Holman also finished in eighth place in the 200-yard IM, but his time of 2:01.12 was below the state standard of 2:01.95.
Holman was the only Royal swimmer to qualify for the championship final in the super-competitive Section 6AA meet, which includes perennial state powers like Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka. However, two other Royals qualified for the consolation finals in three events.
Shawn Wasser swam in two consolation finals. He finished in 11th place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.62 seconds, and he finished 16th in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.44 seconds. Tylor Franklin also finished in 12th place in the 100-yard backstroke, registering a time of 1:00.74.
The Royals’ best relay was the 200-yard freestyle relay, in which they finished in fifth place. Holman, Wasser, Kurt Gilbertson and Jack Dalluge teamed up to finish with a time of 1:33.77.
As a team, the Royals finished sixth out of eight teams. Eden Prairie scored 598 points to win the title ahead of Edina (408) and Minnetonka (408). Hopkins was fourth with 177 points, Chanhassen was fifth with 172 points and WMWDHF was sixth with 137 points. Rounding out the field were St. Louis Park with 106 points and Shakopee with 97 points.
Gens will compete in the state diving prelims on Thursday, Feb. 28, beginning at 6 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Holman’s swimming prelims will be held on Friday, March 1, beginning at 6 p.m. If either competitor advances to the finals, they would compete on Saturday, March 2 at 6 p.m.
Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]