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Raiders fall to Raptors in SEC swimming duel

Thomas Everson takes a breath while swimming the freestyle at Thursday night's meet. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)1 / 3
Hunter Sassor swims for Hastings. He is a senior. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)2 / 3
Jack VanZee, a freshman, was named the swimmer of the meet for Hastings. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)3 / 3

Members of the Hastings boys swimming and diving team turned in season-best and, in some cases, lifetime best swims against East Ridge on Thursday night. That wasn't enough, though, to beat the Raptors, who went on to win the Suburban East Conference title.

East Ridge won, 106-80.

Hastings finished the SEC season with an 8-1 record.

"We swam extremely well," coach Gerry Rupp said. "Clearly, East Ridge was the better team. They swam extremely well against us, and they were just stronger. We were happy with our performance. We were disappointed at the end of the meet, when it didn't work out our way, but we don't have anything to hang our heads about.

"We had season best, if not lifetime best, swims out of every person on the team. That's all you can do."

The meet started out as well as could be expected for Hastings. The Raiders' 200 medley relay team set a new conference and school record with a time of 1 minute, 38.44 seconds.

"That was a great way to start the meet out," Rupp said.

The team was made up of Brandon Underwood, Cole Tipler, Colby Smith and Hayden Schmitt.

Jack VanZee, later named the swimmer of the meet, cut two more seconds off his 200 freestyle time and eight seconds off his 500 freestyle time.

"He definitely had a big impact on the meet," Rupp said.

A number of incredibly fast races played big parts in the meet. In the 50 freestyle, East Ridge had its top two sprinters set to face off. Both finished under 22 seconds.

"Two guys under 22 seconds in a dual meet?" Rupp asked. "That's insane."

Hastings' top swimmer in the race, Hayden Schmitt, had a time of 22.27. Most nights, that time would earn him an easy win.

"To go 22.2 and get third?" Rupp said. "That's unheard of."

Hunter Sassor cut two more seconds in the individual medley, but the East Ridge swimmer he was tasked with beating cut four seconds off his time and edged Sassor by just six tenths of a second.

"There's nothing you can do about that," Rupp said. "You swim your best time by two seconds - but you can't control a guy dropping four seconds."

Thomas Everson had a big swim in the 500 freestyle, cutting eight seconds to finish in 4:56, but his East Ridge opponent cut eight seconds, too, and finished in 4:49.

Hastings now is preparing for the junior varsity conference meet on Saturday in Stillwater.

The section tournament for the varsity team will be held Thursday and Saturday at the Rochester Recreation Center.

Results from the meet went like this:

200 medley relay - team of Brandon Underwood, Cole Tipler, Colby Smith and Hayden Schmitt, first, 1:38.44; team of John Utecht, Hunter Sassor, Jack Weldon and Cole Scully, fourth, 1:49.35; team of Kenny Benson, Bobby Moore, Mikey Everson and Cal Gergen, 1:55.32.

200 freestyle - Thomas Everson, first, 1:47.83; Jack VanZee, third, 1:51.33; Stephen Smith, 1:59.23.

200 individual medley - Colby Smith, second, 2:02.74; Sassor, fourth, 2:08.89; Weldon, 2:19.02.

50 freestyle - Schmitt, third, 22.27; Tipler, fourth, 23.28; Elijah Reilly, fifth, 23.63.

Diving - Vova Tipler, third, 154.90; Mikey Everson, fifth, 133.30; Benson, 126.85.

100 butterfly - Smith, first, 53.05; Reilly, second, 56.47; Weldon, fifth, 1:00.16.

100 freestyle - Underwood, second, 48.31; Schmitt, third, 49.75; Scully, 54.37.

500 freestyle - Thomas Everson, second, 4:56.50; VanZee, third, 5:00.27; Stephen Smith, 5:21.93.

200 freestyle relay - team of Schmitt, Smith, Tipler and Everson, second, 1:30.31; team of Reilly, Scully, Gergen and VanZee, 1:37.48.

100 backstroke - Underwood, first, 55.53; Utecht, fourth, 1:01.18; Benson, fifth, 1:01.20.

100 breaststroke - Tipler, fourth, 1:06.08; Sassor, fifth, 1:06.83; Mikey Everson, 1:14.10.

400 freestyle relay - team of Everson, VanZee, Reilly and Underwood, second, 3:31.21; team of Utecht, Scully, Smith and Sassor, third, 3:44.17.