Hastings takes fourth at state swim meet; team sets two school records
In a close state swimming and diving meet, just one more thing had to go Hastings’ way in order for the Raiders to bring home a trophy.
Hastings and Eden Prairie were battling for third place, and after the Raiders won the consolation heat of the 400 freestyle relay and placed eighth overall, they needed the Eagles to place third, or worse. If that happened, Hastings would take third and Eden Prairie would take forth.
The Eagles, though, took second, bumping the Raiders down to fourth.
“We were a little disappointed that we weren’t able to get in the top three and bring home a trophy, but we swam really well,” coach Gerry Rupp said. “We can’t control what Eden Prairie does there. They had one more swim than we did. Looking at our performances, everybody swam to the best of their ability. We had some really good swims.”
Hastings set two school records in the meet and one relay team earned a state title.
Wayzata won the meet with 237 points. East Ridge was second with 194. Eden Prairie had 169 points and Hastings had 16. A total of 37 schools were represented at the meet.
The 200 medley relay team from Hastings placed fourth at the meet, earning all four members all-state honors. The team was made up of Brandon Underwood, Cole Tipler, Colby Smith and Hayden Schmitt. The team set a school record during prelims on Friday with a time of 1:36.56.
Then, in finals, they cut another half-second off that time to finish in 1:35.91.
Schmitt swam the anchor leg and was closing fast, Rupp said. He had a split of 21.27, which was the fastest anchor leg time.
“Another five yards, and Hayden would have pulled off the win,” Rupp said.
The highlight of the meet for Hastings was the 200 freestyle relay. They set a school record on Friday with a time of 1:26.11, breaking a 20-year-old school record by two seconds. They came back on Saturday at finals and cut another half-second off the time, finishing in 1:25.33, to win a state title by three-quarters of a second.
“That was so exciting,” Rupp said. “They had a phenomenal performance in prelims to set themselves up with the No. 1 seed. In that sprint relay, anything can happen in finals.”
All four swimmers obviously had great times. Schmitt finished in 21.63 seconds. Brandon Underwood had a split of 21.39. Jack VanZee finished in 21.49 and then Everson closed out the race with a split of 21.02, the third-fastest time in the race.
They earned all-state honors with the swim.
The third and final relay of the event was the 400 freestyle relay, and Hastings placed ninth, winning the consolation heat.
“The boys went out and did all that they could do,” Rupp said. “They put themselves in a position to hold on to that third place. We did our job. We had to win that heat, and we did.”
The team was made up of Schmitt, VanZee, Underwood and Everson. They had a time in finals of 3:12.49.
Hastings trailed Eagan when Everson hit the water to swim the anchor leg. He quickly erased that deficit and ended up swimming a 100 freestyle split of 46.57, which was a second faster than the Eagan competitor he faced. Hastings beat Eagan by just three tenths of a second.
“Thomas got in and was a half-body to a body-length behind,” Rupp said. “He ate that kid up, caught him and touched him out in the end.”
Hastings had several individual swims at the state meet. Here is how each one went.
In the 200 freestyle, Jack VanZee had a time of 1:45.38 in prelims and qualified for the consolation heat at finals. He then had a very good swim at finals, cutting 2.5 seconds off his time to finish in 1:42.95. He won the consolation heat in the process and, had he qualified for the final heat, he would have placed fifth with that time. He’s now just seven tenths away from breaking the school record in the event.
“That was a phenomenal time,” Rupp said. “He’s well on pace to take that school record down next year. That was just an awesome swim.”
In the 200 individual medley, Thomas Everson swam a lifetime best time of 1:53.36 to earn the No. 2 seed heading into finals. He finished second in the state with a time of 1:53.71.
Colby Smith took fifth in the 100 butterfly at finals. He had a time of 51.31, moving up from the No. 7 seed.
“He moved up a lot in that race, and was within a couple tenths of his best time,” Rupp said. “The butterfly had a very heavily loaded field. That was probably the toughest event of all this year.”
Thomas Everson took eighth in the same event with a time of 51.70.
“We’re really going to miss his leadership,” Rupp said of Everson.
Next came the 500 freestyle, where VanZee had qualified. He took 10th with a time of 4:40.98, which was a five-second improvement from Friday’s time of 4:45.80.
“He narrowly missed being the consolation champ,” Rupp said. “Another 10 yards, and Jack would have had him.”
VanZee is now within a second of the school record in the event, too.
In the 100 backstroke, Brandon Underwood placed fourth with a time in finals of 52.27. He had a prelim time of 53.09. He was seeded eighth and moved up.
Smith placed 13th in the backstroke with a time in finals of 53.60.
In the 100 breaststroke Cole Tipler placed 19th with a time of 1:01.21. He missed a chance to come back and swim at finals, finishing about a second off the time. Rupp said Tipler has nothing to hang his head about, though.
“He was seeded 23rd and took 19th – that’s pretty darn good,” Rupp said. “Sometimes you lose focus for how good these kids are. He had the 19th-fastest breaststroke time in the state. That’s pretty good bragging rights.”
Vova Tipler qualified in diving for Hastings and he placed 24th. Tipler is just an eighth-grader.
“As you might expect, his first time at the state meet as an eighth-grader, he was nervous,” Rupp said. “Anybody who has been in an individual competition on a huge stage like that will understand the level of anxiety that you have. He didn’t dive his best, but it was an incredible learning experience for him.”
Tipler had a total of 133.60.
Only the top 20 divers advanced to semifinals. The 20th-ranked diver this year had 140.40 points, so Tipler was close to moving on.