Swimming and diving: Packers are ready for statePublished 7:43pm Monday, November 11, 2013
The Packers’ five state qualifiers will have to wait a little while longer than they’re used to for the Class ‘A’ state swimming and diving meet, but they’ll be ready go when the meet starts next week.
Due to a scheduling conflict with the University of Minnesota, the state meet will be held next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the U of M Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
Austin’s state qualifiers include Autumn Laury, who took third in diving at state last season, and the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Merideth Fritz, Heather Johnson, Maddie Kinney and Mikayla Finney.
Laury took fourth in the Section 1A meet and she thinks she has a chance to finish just as high at the state meet, since her section was loaded with tough divers.
“My state competition is literally the section. It’s just like sections, except it’s in a bigger pool,” Laury said.
Laury, a senior, has battled back problems since September and she’s just happy she was able to overcome it and still make it to state for the second time in her career. Laury had to miss some diving time and practice time this year, but she’s still expecting to advance out of the preliminaries, which will be held Monday at noon, and get to the finals, which will be held Wednesday at noon.
“With my back being this bad, fourth (place) is the best I can do,” Laury said. “Unless something goes wrong, I should be able to get fourth without too much of a problem.”
Austin’s 200-yard freestyle relay team is seeded 18th out of 23 teams with a qualifying time of 1:42.35. A team from Visitation has the best qualifying time of 1:38.93.
Johnson and Fritz are both seniors and will be swimming for the Packers for the last time.
“’I’m going to have as much fun as I can and just leave it all out there for the last time,” said Johnson, who will be swimming at state for the second time in her career.
Fritz will be swimming in her third state meet and she’s hoping it will be positive experience.
“It’s definitely bittersweet. The trip for me will be about making the best out of our last trip with our time and the experience,” she said. “I would’ve rather had more events to get more into the meet. Sometimes you can psyche yourself out with one event, but we’ll do our best to keep our heads on straight.”
The Packers, who will swim in the preliminaries Tuesday at noon, will probably have to swim faster than they did at the Section 1A meet to get in the top 16 and advance to Wednesday’s finals.
Kinney, who is a junior, thinks Austin can do it.
“I think we can make it,” said Kinney, who will be in her second state meet. “It’s just a 50-yard swim and we can put it all in the pool.”
Finney will be swimming in her third state meet for the Packers as she missed out on a chance at state due to an illness. She’s motivated to get back in the U of M pool and she’s excited to get another chance at the state meet.
“Last year I was pretty upset and it was pretty hard,” Finney said. “I’ve come back stronger this year.”