Packer swimmers are ready for state meet

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It’s all matter of timing.

As the four state qualifying Austin swimmers prepare for the Class ‘A’ state meet, which begins Friday with the preliminaries at noon in University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, they already have their schedule planned out.

First, they’ll each compete in their individual events in the first half of the meet and then they’ll get ready for their two relays — the 200- and 400-yard freestyles — in the last half of the meet.

“For every individual event, all three of us (who aren’t swimming) will be at the end of the lane just waiting. We’re really supportive of each other,” Austin senior Zach Rausch, who will compete individually in the 50-yard freestyle said.

When they get to the relays — which are both seeded 12th out of 21 teams — the Packers are hoping to finish in the top-16 to reach Saturday’s finals, which start at noon.

“It’s going to be tough up there,” Austin head coach Lynn Gulbrandson said. “We’re seeded on the edge and we’ve got to be faster. That’s all we can do We can’t play defense.”

Jordan Stasi and Rausch were both on last year’s state-qualifying relay team but it’s a first time state experience for Michael Thorsheim and Nick Brehmer. The group has grown close throughout the season.

“We have a bond this year and we’ve bonded better than any team I’ve been on,” said Stasi. “Not only are we swimming for ourselves, we’re swimming for the three guys behind us and that motivates us.”

While Thorsheim, Stasi and Rausch are veterans on the swim team, freshman Nick Brehmer has learned the ropes pretty quickly as he worked his way towards a state berth in the 200-yard individual medley.

He was a little surprised by the success.

“It was always a hope (to get to state) but I didn’t expect it all,” Brehmer said. “I kind of had it in the back of my mind that I had a chance with the relays, but not individually.”

Gulbrandson said that Brehmer has a good future in the pool.

“We haven’t seen how good Nick is going to be. He’s learning from some very good upperclassmen,” he said.

Now that Brehmer is in state, he and his fellow Packers are going to do what they can to get a chance to swim on Saturday.

“We’re really excited and we’re hoping to make it to the finals on Saturday,” Thorsheim said. “Hopefully we can move up a couple of spots and we can all swim personal bests. But then again, anything can happen at state.”

The Packers’ schedule certainly works to their advantage.

“Last year it got kind of long just watching it and waiting before I swam,” Stasi said. “This year, we’ll be swimming every couple of events and we’ll be able to stay in it.”

WHERE THEY STAND

Austin freshman Nick Brehmer’s qualifying time in the 200-yard freestyle is the 20th fastest time out of 25 qualifying swimmers.

Austin has two qualifiers in the 200-yard individual medley. Junior Michael Thosheim has the 17th seeded time out of 26 swimmers and senior Jordan Stasi has the 20th seeded time.

Austin senior Zach Rausch has the 15th seeded time out of 24 swimmers.

The 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard relay teams are seeded 12th out of 21.