Packers are all set for state meet

Published 11:19 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Austin boys swimming and diving team has a strong mix of experience and youth in the fold as it prepares for the Minnesota Class A state meet.

The Packers have four first year competitors and two with state experience.

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Freshman Riley Norton, who advanced to state as a diver, is one of the first time qualifiers and he was a bit overwhelmed when he earned his spot at last week’s Section 1A meet.

To be honest, I kind of wanted to throw up and I was so surprised that I really didn’t know what to say,” Norton said. “\My dad made a deal with that if I made it to state, so I’m getting a new dog now.”

Norton will compete in the diving preliminaries at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center noon Thursday. The swimming preliminaries are noon Friday and the finals are noon Saturday.

Austin junior Isaac Christopherson will be swimming at the state meet for the fourth straight year and he’s explained the importance of the experience to all of Austin’s younger competitors.

“It’s great. There’s a lot more excitement there,” Christopherson said. “Everybody at state is ecstatic. I want to show the new guys how fun it is and how much the experience helps you as a person.”

Rafe Dolan Peterson, Ethan Thompson and Aaron Knoll are all making their first appearance as state swimmers and they’re all excited for the chance to compete in the big meet.

“I couldn’t be more excited than I am right now,” Knoll said. “Words can’t describe how excited I am.”

Thompson is ready to go all out at the state meet and he’s thrilled about the opportunity in front of him.

“I can’t explain how honored I am to represent Austin at state,” he said.

Mitch Mayer said the Packers felt the need to equal last year’s success after having lost some key swimmers to graduation. He felt the team was able to meet those high expectations at the Section 1A meet and they’re hoping to come into the state meet with momentum.

“I think we had all of the pressure from last year on our shoulders to see if we could live up to the expectations of last year,” Mayer said. “We obviously fulfilled that and now the stress is lifted off our shoulders.”

Dolan Peterson said he is also feeling the pressure of last year’s success as he prepares for his first state meet.

“Last year they did really well and I’m going to have to live up that expectation,” he said.


200-yard freestyle: Austin’s Isaac Christopherson is seeded sixth out of 26 swimmers with a qualifying time of 1:46.79.

50-yard freestyle: Austin’s Mitch Mayer is seeded seventh out of 27 swimmers with a qualifying time of 21.43.

100-butterfly: Mayer is seeded 10th out of 27 swimmers with a qualifying time of 53.67 seconds.

100-freestyle: Christopherson is seeded 16th out of 27 swimmers with a time of 48.82 seconds.

200-freestyle relay: The Austin team of Mayer, Aaron Knoll, Ethan Thompson and Christopherson is seeded 12th out of 21 teams with a qualifying time of 1:30.88.

400-freestyle relay: The team of Rafe Dolan Peterson, Mayer, Thompson, Christopherson is seeded ninth out of 23 teams with a qualifying time of 3:20.74.