Senior celebration: Packers put up strong performances in final home meet

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

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After countless laps, lots of tapering and a whole lot of success, three Austin swimmers swam in Bud Higgins pool in a meet for the final time as the Packers lost to Rochester Mayo by a score of 96-89 on senior night Thursday.

Seniors Winston Walkup, Joey Hilkin and Kenny Cabeen, who have all swam at the Minnesota Class A state meet in the past, went out in style as they were all on the first place 200-yard freestyle relay team.

Cabeen, who won the 50-yard freestyle, said the seniors made the best of the night.

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“This was the meet I wanted to have the most fun at,” Cabeen said. “We won all three relays and that was great. It’s been an honor swimming with these two guys. I’m grateful for both of them.”

The Spartans had about three times as many swimmers as Austin, but the Packers were able to keep pace. Walkup, who won the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley, said that he didn’t think about this being his final home meet and he wanted to keep it as normal as possible.

“After the meet it hit me and it’s kind of sad (with this being our last meet here), but we’ve been through so much together. It’s kind of cool,” Walkup said. “Tonight was really good for us. Mayo is a bigger school that’s like three times our size. We actually held our own and that just shows how strong of a team we are.”

Besides being senior night, the meet was a special one for AHS as a pair of Hall of Fame inductees were in the crowd. Former head coach Lynn Gulbrandson was in the building on the day before he was to be recognized into the hall of fame.

“It was a huge honor to have them here and I think they’d be proud of us, especially with the small numbers that we have,” Cabeen said. “It was kind of like David vs. Goliath.”

The Packer swimmers will have to get serious in the coming weeks as they have the Big Nine on Feb. 10 and the Section 1A meet on the horizon, but they used Thursday’s meet as a chance to take a deep breath and enjoy themselves.

“It will set in later that this was our last home meet. For now, it was just another meet with my best friends,” Hilkin said.


200-medley relay: Brent Dahl, Winston Walkup, Joey Hilkin, Lucas Myers (first, 1:44.48); Jackson Hilkin, Hunter Peters, Carter Holt, Zach Voogd (fourth, 1:59.54)

200-freestyle: Brent Dahl (second, 1:55.19); Noah Holt (fifth, 2:12.64); Thomas Asmus (sixth, 2:15.45)

200-individual medley: Winston Walkup (first, 2:08.86); Hunter Peters (fourth, 2:21.50)

50-freestyle: Kenny Cabeen (first, 23.49); Zach Evenson (second, 23.84); Carter Holt (sixth, 24.66)

Diving: Riley Ferguson (first, 180.50); Gage Rasmussen (fourth, 128.00)

100-butterfly: Joey Hilkin (third, 58.83); Luacs Myers (fourth, 1:01.64)

100-freestyle: Kenny Cabeen (second, 51.93); Noah Holt (fifth, 57.77); Jackson Hilkin (sixth, 1:00.77)

500-freestyle: Brent Dahl (first, 5:09.10); Hunter Peters (fourth, 5:41.46); Thomas Asmus (sixth, 6:13.27)

200-freestyle relay: Winston Walkup, Zach Evenson, Joey Hilkin, Kenny Cabeen (first, 1:34.14); Carter Holt, Thomas Asmus, Noah Holt, Hunter Peters (fifth, 1:44.94)

100-backstroke: Winston Walkup (first, 58.86); Zach Evenson (fourth, 1:02.85); Jackson Hilkin (sixth, 1:07.10)

100-breaststroke: Lucas Myers (second, 1:08.13); Joey Hilkin (third, 1:11.41); Carter Holt (fifth, 1:13.36)

400-freestyle relay: Kenny Cabeen, Brent Dahl, Zach Evenson, Lucas Myers (first, 3:32.15); Noah Holt, Jackson Hilkin, Zach Voogd, Thomas Asmus (fifth, 4:11.36)