Park swimmers make a splash at state

Posted 3/17/21

It was a big splash of a night for Park High junior Matt Glenna and the Wolfpack 400-yard freestyle relay team in the 2020 Section 3AA boys swimming and diving finals Wednesday. Glenna won two events …

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Park swimmers make a splash at state


It was a big splash of a night for Park High junior Matt Glenna and the Wolfpack 400-yard freestyle relay team in the 2020 Section 3AA boys swimming and diving finals Wednesday.

Glenna won two events at Oltman Middle School Wednesday and Park’s 400yard freestyle relay team of Devin Schwartz, Nathan Le-May, Tyson Kalinowski and Glenna swam to a first-place finish in school record time to highlight the section finals for the Wolfpack.

The relay team, as well as Glenna in the 100 and 200 freestyles and Schwartz in the 50 freestyle, qualified for this week’s state meet.

“It was a great section meet for all of our guys,” said Park head coach Amanda Johnson.”

While Glenna and Schwartz swam to individual glory, it was the 400 relay that stole the show for the Wolfpack in the section meet. And it almost didn’t happen.

After crunching the numbers before the meet, Johnson said she was at first reluctant to put her top swimmers in the 400 freestyle relay.

“I really wanted to do the 200 free because I really thought we had a better shot in that 200 freestyle to make it to state,” Johnson said. “And our three seniors came up and said, nope, we want to do that 400 free relay, we know we can do it, we can break our school record and we can make it to state.

They were right, putting together not only a section- winning effort but also swimming to a school record in the event.

“That was amazing,” Johnson noted. “I didn’t expect us to be that far ahead of everybody in that field. I just think they were on. They had a mission and they knew they could do it.”

Strong swims by Glenna in the 200 and 100 freestyles, Schwartz in the 50 and Le-May in the backstroke boosted everyone’s confidence going into the final relay.

“I think that pushed them to go fast,” said Johnson.

Park finished third in the eight team race with 284.5 points.

Eagan won the section team title with 355 points. East Ridge was second with 346.5 points and Park third. The field was rounded out by 4, Rosemount, 282.5; 5, Eastview, 239; 6, Woodbury, 179; 7, Apple Valley, 146.5 and 8, Henry Sibley, 115.

Glenna won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:46.00, swimming more than two seconds faster than his qualifying time. He then turned around and five events later finished first in the 100-yard freestyle in 48.53, his fastest time of the season.

“I’m probably mostly hyped for the 100 free because I’m only two-tenths of a second off the record on the board over there,” said Glenna. “And so I really want to get that. But overall, it’s my first time swimming individual events at state so I’m pretty excited about that.” Swimmers

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Glenna came in with the two fastest times in the section in the 100 and 200 freestyles, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that he won the events. What was surprising was the performance of Park’s 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Park triumphed in the final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay, with the foursome of Schwartz, LeMay, Kalinowski and Glenna clocking a school record and winning time of 3:16.05, taking more than a whopping 10 seconds off their seed time of 3:26.54.

“We were more mentally prepared (for the 400 freestyle at section), said Le-May. “We had more energy within our systems, more of the boys were cheering us on and the adrenaline itself. It really helped us gain — and the feeling of going back to state — that all this came together to make us want to go.”

Park’s time of 3:16.05 was under the state qualifying time of 3:16.75. Schwartz, LeMay and Kalinowski are seniors, Glenna a junior. Rival East Ridge was second in the final relay in 3:17.68 and Eagan third in 3:19.96.

Schwartz just missed a win in the 50-yard freestyle (22.16), finishing second behind the winning time of 22.11. Nathan LeMay of the Wolfpack was fourth in 22.46.

“For our relay I’d say we are really hoping to maybe go a 4:15 and placing in the top 16 is the real goal, it would be even great if we could place in the top eight,” said Schwartz. “For me, personally, for my 50 free, I’m really hoping to get back down to around to a 2 or a 21 or if I can to break that record that I got last year.”

The first- and second- place finishers in each event advance to state, or any swimmers who equals or surpasses the time standard in the section finals.

The state Class AA swimming finals will be held Friday, March 19 at the Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota. Section 3AA finals will begin at noon. No spectators will be allowed.

“The goal for us would be just to improve upon our time at sections,” said Kalinowksi. “”We just want to go faster. I know personally I feel I have a lot more in me and feel I have a big opportunity to improve and I think everyone else will improve as well with really focusing on sprinting freestyle because we’re only swimming freestyle.

“We broke our school record and our goal is just to make that even harder to break next time,” Kalinowsli added.

Park’s Nathan Lemay placed third in the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 54.24, knocking more than a second off his seed time of 55.93.

Park’s foursome of Kalinowksi, Ethan Anderson, Evan Darling and Mitchell LeMay came in third in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:33.56, a three-second improvement over their previous best.

Nathan LeMay finished third in the 100-yard backstroke in 55.93. Schwartz was fifth in the race with a time of 56.70.

Park’s 200-yard medley relay team of Nathan LeMay, Mason Darling, Schwartz and Glenna finished fourth in a time of 1:40.77.

Mitchell LeMay placed fifth in the 100-yard butterfly in 54.76.

Ethan Anderson was eighth in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.61.

Kalinowski finished eighth in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:06.52.