by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Elk River-Zimmerman-Rogers-Spectrum swimmers stayed unbeaten with a noisy and exciting 97-89 conquest of Anoka on Thursday evening in Anoka.
In the dual meet that usually decides who’s the best-of-the-rest behind Maple Grove in the Northwest Suburban Conference, each team had six first-places but the Elks had a little more depth.
“We had as many parents as Anoka did at the pool and everybody was cheering really loud from beginning to end,” said Elk coach Denise Eidem.
The coach expected a more comfortable margin of victory based on Anoka’s times heading into this meet.
“Anoka swam a great meet and had some times we hadn’t seen before,” said Eidem. “So it was an exciting match, back and forth.”
Collin Krueger won the 200 and 500 freestyle, Aaron Schwab took the individual medley and backstroke, Dan Webster won the 50 free, and Krueger, Jacob Christy, Friend Bechtel and Schwab took the 400 free relay.
Krueger’s 500 victory was a nail-biter as he rallied in the last 100 yards and touched out Anoka’s Matt Hedman by .04 with a personal-best 5:03.39. A finish that close in the sport’s longest race is very rare.
Schwab’s backstroke win led the Elks to an 11-point package with Friend Bechtel second and Spencer 12 0 Hlavachek fifth, putting the Elks firmly in the lead with two events left.
Anoka won the first two relays but the Elks were confident going into the final event, the 400 free relay, in which they needed only to place first to wrap up the win.
“Anoka had already used up their top guys,” said Eidem.
Krueger, Jacob Christy, Bechtel and Schwab won the event, and an all-Zimmerman relay of Andy Olson, Ryan Pokorny, A.J. Schlee and and Andy Lee almost nabbed second place but added third-place points.
Anoka diver John Tellgren set a team record winning that event in 289.50. Other Tornado firsts were by Mitch Kamps in butterfly, Kyle Herold in the 100 free and Taylor DuBois in breaststroke.
The Elks are 4-0 in conference and 5-0 overall. They handed Anoka its first conference loss. With one conference match left, against Blaine, the Elks will win the west half of the conference and meet perennial champion Maple Grove for the overall title Feb. 1.
Next for the Elks is the section true-team meet on Saturday in Alexandria, which they feel they have a good chance to win for the first time. That would meet a trip to the state true-team meet.
Elk River 97, Anoka 89
200 medley relay — (1) Anoka 1:46.05 (2) Elks; Friend Bechtel, Peter Schultz, Aaron Schwab, Dan Webster, 1:46.53 (3) Anoka
200 freestyle — (1) Collin Krueger, ER, 1:51.11 (3) Andy Lee 1:56.94
200 individual medley — (1) Schwab 2:07.50 (3) Schultz 2:09.83
50 freestyle — (1) Webster 24.14 (3) Jacob Christy, ER, 24.48
Diving — (1) John Tellgren, Anoka, 289.50
100 butterfly — (1) Mitch Kamps, Anoka, 59.34 (2) F. Bechtel 59.41 (3) Casey Lee 1:00.05
100 freestyle — (1) Kyle Herold, Anoka, 50.0 (2) Christy 52.93 (3) Webster 53.50 (4) A.J. Schlee, ER, 54.20
500 freestyle — (1) Krueger 5:03.39 (2) Matt Hedman, Anoka, :03.72 (3) Olson 5:20.02
200 freestyle relay — (1) Anoka 1:35.06 (2) Elks: Webster, Christy, Schultz, Krueger, 1:35.80 (3) Anoka
100 backstroke — (1) Schwab 57.64 (2) F. Bechtel 58.12
100 breaststroke — (1) Taylor DuBois, Anoka, 1:06.06 (2) Schultz 1:07.64
400 freestyle relay — (1) Elks: Krueger, Christy, F. Bechtel, Schwab 3:26.70 (2) Anoka (3) Elks: Olson, Ryan Pokorny, Schlee, A. Lee 3:34.12