Packers head to the state swim meet with new leaders

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The Austin boys swimming and diving team had to replace an icon when Logan Kelly left for Division I IUPUI this fall, but the Packers still have plenty of push left in them as the team has five swimmers competing in this weekend’s Minnesota Class A State Swimming and Diving Meet.

Austin junior Kenny Cabeen will be swimming on both relays and he also is competing in two individual events. It’s been a long climb for the Cabeen, who found out what it was like to finish near last place in races when he had an overwhelming freshman season.

But Cabeen never quit and kept his focus on Kelly, who showed him what it took to improve.

“It wasn’t easy replacing Logan. He’s taken up just about the entire record board. But he taught us how to work hard in the pool and in practice,” Cabeen said. “I’ve got to give all of the credit to my teammates for pushing me in practice. I’m always chasing my goal (as a freshman). I was tired of not being first, and I’m not number one yet, but I wanted to get faster.”

The Minnesota Class A Meet will be held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis on Friday and Saturday. The Class A preliminaries are set for noon Friday and the finals begin at noon Saturday. Along with Cabeen, Austin will be represented by Winston Walkup, Jackson Barry, Joey Hilkin and Matthew Grush.

Walkup, a junior, will swim in both state qualifying relays for Austin and is looking to make the best out of the meet.

“This group is really fun. I’m really looking forward to swimming at state,” Walkup said. “After losing such a big part of our team from last year, I really felt like I needed to step up. I wanted to be that next person that the team could look up to.”

Walkup has been a big swimmer for the Packers for the past two years and he’s not slowing down any time soon.

“Knowing that there’s always someone better than you drives you,” Walkup said. “I want to be that number one, but you can never be number one. There is no limit so you have to keep working.”

SEEDINGS

200-yard medley relay: Austin’s team of Winston Walkup, Kenny Cabeen, Jackson Barry, Joey Hilkin) is seeded 14th out of 26 teams with a qualifying time of 1:42.42.

50-yard freestyle: Kenny Cabeen is seeded 12th out of 21 swimmers with a qualifying time of 22.45 seconds.

100-freestyle: Kenny Cabeen is seeded 13th out of 25 swimmers with a qualifying time of 49.01 seconds.

200-yard freestyle relay: The team of Winston Walkup, Joey Hilkin, Kenny Cabeen and Matthew Grush is seeded eighth out of 15 teams with a qualifying time of 1:31.96.