The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

Two swimmers compete, nearly break records at State

Adam Bilski
Head Coach Damon Carrison (left) and assistant coach Jon Weidenbacher (right) check out the scoreboard as Roe and Johnson race at State.

The University of Minnesota Aquatic Center filled with people on March 1 and 2 as everyone came to watch the best high-school swimmers in the state. A moveable divider separated the 25-yard racing pool from the 12 other warm up lanes. Behind the blocks, a 20-foot diving well positioned itself under 7 diving boards; four springboards, and a diving tower with three blocks, escalating from low to high, hanging over the depths of the deep warm water pit.

This was the setting two BSM boys swimmers, senior Alex Roe and sophomore Kyle Johnson, lived in for two days after qualifying for the Minnesota State High School League Swim Meet in the 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard backstroke respectively.

For Roe on Friday (prelims), he was positioned in lane two for the 50 yard freestyle. During the regular season, Roe was the person to beat, but the talent surrounding him at the State meet pushed him to a personal best time of 22.35 seconds, landing him in 14th place with a position in the final heat on Saturday. “Some of [the people in my heat] were really fast; off the flip turn I saw people in front of me and thought I was doing badly, but overall I feel good about a new personal record,” Roe said.

Roe flirted with Scott Quinby’s all-time BSM record of 22.31 seconds during prelims, and because he made the top 16, he would have one more chance to make history during finals. “He swam the daylights out of it, he had an excellent start, and an excellent first length. We’ll take another stab at in on Saturday. He’s got a good chance, maybe just get a little more steam on the finish, but he’s awfully close right now,” head coach Damon Carrison said.

As for Johnson during prelims, he raced in lane two for the 100 backstroke. This race requires a great start and three great flip turns to feel satisfied. Known for his technique on the start, Johnson placed 11th after a time of 57.41 seconds. “Kyle again had a perfect swim, it’s what he does,” assistant coach Jon Weidenbacher said.

Less than a second from the school record Parker Johnson swam as a sophomore, Johnson felt excited for his swim during finals the following day.“I’m as ready as can be [for finals],” Johnson said.

From the thousands of spectators, family always has a way of sticking out among the crowd. Roe’s parents and grandparents came to support him during the meet, and seeing a time inside the top 16 on Friday got them excited for finals. “We think he did a good job. I liked the way they separated the boys down at the other end right before their event so they could focus on their individual swim. We are excited for tomorrow,” Roe’s mother Amy Roe said.

On Saturday, Johnson came back to finals without nervousness. The intense yardage that he had been putting into practices since he was a little kid seemed to be paying off. Johnson is able to maintain stamina for the entire 100 yards better than most. “It’s amazing, the guy’s splits are the closest I’ve ever seen, I mean he’s automatic,” coach Weidenbacher said.

When it was time for the finals heat of backstroke, the referee calmed the crowd down, set the buzzer off, and Johnson kicked off the wall diving into the water on his back. His underwater stream line was aggressive, and he accelerated into the first flip turn with speed. After sprinting to touch the wall on the final length, Johnson looked to the scoreboard to see his time of 58.40 seconds. His swim placed him 16th overall in the state, and after not being totally satisfied with his time, he knows he has two more years to improve on it. “It feels pretty good,” Johnson said.

After a devastatingly close call during prelims, Roe needed to swim 0.04 seconds faster to break the all-time BSM record. After taking only two breaths in his entire swim, Roe wasn’t able to break the school record, but his time was 22.40 seconds, placing him 14th overall in the state.

After swimming hundreds of thousands of yards all season, Roe was able to channel the excitement of swimming his last race ever as a Red Knight and turn his nerves into an unforgettable moment. “I feel like I could have gotten the record with my swim, but I feel on my flip turn it might have gotten me off a little bit,” Roe said.

The large luxury of the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center proved to be a highlight for all of the swimmers and fans. From the olympic size swimming pool, to the arrangement of the spectating areas lining the edges and engulfing the pool in an arena fashion, it showed to be the perfect place to host a championship. For Kyle Johnson, it’s where an invigorating force took over. He put every inch of strength and stamina to achieve 16th place in the entire state with a time of 58.40 seconds. For senior Alex Roe, it’s where he swam his last race, his last flip turn, his last 50 yard freestyle, and his last lap as a Red Knight.

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Two swimmers compete, nearly break records at State