Packers swimmers have solid showing

Published 8:54 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lauren Edwards swims to the finish during heat three of the 50 yard freestyle Wednesday night during the Section 1A preliminaries at Ellis MIddle School. - Eric Johnson/

Austin senior Brooke Johnson was barely out of the pool at the Section 1A girls swimming and diving preliminaries and she was already thinking about Friday’s finals.

Johnson, who swam at state last season, took second in the 100-yard backstroke by two-tenths of a second with a season’s best time of 1:03.53.

But she wants to go a little bit faster on Friday.

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In fact, she’d like to swim the race in under 1:02, which would set a new school record.

“I did pretty well, but I was really hoping for a 1:01 today,” she said. “It’s a step closer to breaking the record, which is my goal this year. I just want to break a minute, that would be really amazing and it would make it that much harder to break it again.”

Amanda Zahradnik swims the 200 yard freestyle during the Section 1A preliminaries Wednesday evening at Ellis Middle School. - Eric Johnson/

Johnson is also thinking about a record time for the 200-medley relay team which includes her, Kelli Bednar, Averi Splinter and Helen Heimark.

That group shaved over three seconds off their previous best time to hit a 1:53.60 in the prelims and they hope to improve in Friday’s finals, which take place at 7 p.m. in Ellis Middle School.

The group is aiming at the school record of 1:52, which would require them to swim a little faster.

“We know a couple of us can drop another second and I know we’re going to get it. We have to, there’s no question we’re going to get it,” she said. “The energy is definitely a major part of the finals. The noise makes everyone excited and the adrenaline keeps going through the whole meet.”

Since they won their prelim race by about two seconds, the Packers are mostly competing against themselves in the 200-yard medley relay.

Friday’s Section 1A finals should be exciting for the Packers, as they will have a participant in nine of the 11 ‘A’ final races.

Brooke Johnson nears the end of the backstroke portion of the 200 yard medley relay in the second heat Wednesday night in the Section 1A preliminaries at Ellis Middle School. - Eric Johnson/

They will have four swimmers in the 100-yard butterfly finals — Splinter, a returning state qualifier, Emily McAlister, Ann Smith and Johnson.

Austin head coach Lynn Gulbrandson said it’s rare to get four qualifiers in the same finals and it may be the first time in school history.

Johnson was glad to make it.

“I didn’t think top eight would be possible (for me) and to have all of us in (the finals) is really exciting. We can just get each other pumped,” she said.

The Austin 200-yard freestyle relay team of Splinter, Mikayla Finney, Bednar and Heimark took third in the prelims after they lowered their best time by over two seconds.

Austin diver Autumn Laury is currently in seventh place after eight dives and three to go.


200-medley relay: Brooke Johnson, Kelli Bednar, Averi Splinter, Helen Heimark (first, 1:53.60)

200-yard freestyle: Helen Heimark (fourth, 2:01.92); Lindsey Halsey (12th, 2:09.48); Amanda Zahradnik (19th, 2:15.28)

200-yard individual medley: Merideth Fritz (ninth, 2:28.23); Emily McAlister (10th, 2:29.38); Tori Grev (17th, 2:35.67)

50-yard freestyle: Averi Splinter (fifth, 25.49); Mikayla Finney (ninth, 26.30); Lauren Edwards (13th, 27.12)

Diving: Autumn Laury (seventh, 198.45); Bailey Corey (19th, 155.20); Michelle Erdahl (29th, 75.05)

100-yard butterfly: Averi Splinter (second, 1:01.74); Emily McAlister (fourth, 1:04.91); Anna Smith (sixth, 1:06.60); Brooke Johnson (seventh, 1:06.76)

100-yard freestyle: Mikayla Finney (ninth, 58.35); Kelli Bednar (10th, 58.46); Lauren Edwards (13th, 59.41)

500-yard freestyle: Helen Heimark (seventh, 5:40.51); Merideth Fritz (12th, 5:55.75); Amanda Zahradnik (13th, 5:55.83)

200-yard freestyle relay: Averi Splinter, Mikayla Finney, Kelli Bednar, Helen Heimark (third, 1:43.25)

100-yard backstroke: Brooke Johnson (second, 1:03.53); Lindsey Halsey (15th, 1:10.94); Tori Grev (17th, 1:11.22)

100-yard breaststroke: Kelli Bednar (fourth, 1:13.39); Emily Johnson (ninth, 1:16.54); Lauren Stasi (26th, 1:24.04)

400-yard freestyle relay: Mikayla Finney, Merideth Fritz, Lindsey Halsey, Brooke Johnson (third, 3:57.85)