Boys’ Swim team finishes top 10 in State Meet with excellent individual swims
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As the calendar flips to March, many begin to think about the coveted NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. But before any of the crazy buzzer beaters and upsets occur, a different form of March Madness transpires at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center: The MSHSL Boys’ High School State Swim Meet. This year, the five participants representing Benilde-St Margaret’s School at the meet racked up historic accolades, and put BSM boys’ swim on the map as a premier program in State A.
The highlight of the meet for the BSM boys’ swim team was the senior captain and “G.O.A.T.” Tyler Metz, who capped off his decorated career with dominant performances at both Prelims and Finals of the State Meet. Metz placed second in the 200 yard freestyle with a school record time of 1:42.06, shattering his previous school record by over a second. Shortly thereafter, Metz continued to amaze the entire crowd at the Aquatic Center. In the 100 yard freestyle, Metz became the first BSM boys’ swimmer to win a State A title, with a time of 46.23. “I felt very proud to be the first individual swimmer from the [BSM] boys’ swim team to win a State title. I was very grateful to stand on the podium and represent my team because I know I wouldn’t have accomplished it without my coaches and my hardworking teammates,” Metz said.
Metz was very excited to see his persistent work ethic pay off in a big way on the final day of the season. “I went into this season telling myself that I was going to do whatever I needed in order to win State. I did some dryland prior to the season in addition to swimming in order to build up my strength,” Metz said. Metz may have stolen the show, but other Red Knights posted strong performances as well.
Fellow senior captain Tommy McGinn and sophomore Matt McGonigle both qualified for the Championship Final in the 500 yard freestyle, marking the first time that two BSM boys’ swimmers were on the podium in the same individual event. McGonigle capped off a strong season with a solid 6th place finish (4:53.09), after having broken the School record in the event at Section 2A Finals, while McGinn finished 8th (4:57.04) with All-State honors to cap off his final season of high school swimming. “That was so surreal having both of us on the podium. Matt and I pushed each other throughout the year, and it was cool to see us achieve something that we have really pushed for,” McGinn said. “I had set my goals to finish in the top 8 in the State as well as break the School record [in the 500 Free], and it was a really great feeling to hit the wall and know that I had accomplished those goals,” McGonigle said.
Even though the 6th place finish was a great accomplishment, McGonigle continues to set his eyes on the future. “My hope for next year is to break 4:50 in the 500, as well as place higher at State,” McGonigle said. McGonigle also qualified for State in the 200 yard freestyle, in which he got 22nd, with a time of 1:50.69 at Prelims.
For McGinn, the feeling of racing for the final time in his high school swimming career was bittersweet. “It was really weird. After my race, it all just hit me that it was over, but there’s no better place to end your career then at the State Tournament,” McGinn said.
Other notables at the State Meet for BSM included juniors Graham Noble and Michael Hunter. Noble finished 14th in the 100 yard backstroke, with a time of 56.75. Hunter participated in the 200 yard freestyle relay along with McGonigle, McGinn, and Metz. Even though the relay team finished 12th, Hunter still was grateful to swim alongside such hard workers all season long. “The team chemistry was great. We pushed each other all season, and really had confidence in each other,” Hunter said.
Hunter became a little bit sad when asked about losing great senior leaders like McGinn and Metz. “Inside and outside the pool they were great captains and even better friends,” Hunter said.
This year’s BSM boys’ swim team truly made their mark, and Metz hopes to carry this season’s momentum to try to get more students involved with the team in future years. ”I hope that my [State] win encourages younger swimmers to come to BSM and join the team, because we have a really strong program that I know will continue to thrive in the upcoming years,” Metz said.
With the likes of McGonigle, Noble, and Hunter returning, the future remains very bright for the BSM boys’ swim team.