by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Andrew Bronstheyn may not finish the season undefeated — he’d have to win the state title this weekend for that — but the Elk River diver has beaten all comers up to this point, an enviable record.
Bronshteyn, a sophomore in his second state trip, has prelims on Thursday evening as the state swimming and diving meet opens at the U of M, while the Elks other entrant, senior Aaron Schwab, in his fifth state appearance, has individual medley and backstroke prelims on Friday evening.
The 5-foot-5, 120-pound Bronshteyn won the Section 8AA gold medal last Saturday in his closest competition of the season, beating a St. Cloud Tech rival by 1.1 points. He’s won his event at eight dual meets, two invitationals, section true-team and the regular section.
“Andrew is what we call a ‘pretty’ diver,” said Elk coach Denis Eidem. “Dwight Baker, who holds our records, looked powerful. With Andy, he has beautiful lines. He is smaller, and he goes in the water without a splash.”
Baker, state champion for the Elks in 2009, now dives for Drury College in Missouri.
Bronstheyn started diving in eighth grade. He was section runner-up last year to qualify for state, where he placed 20th. The top six at state last year were all seniors.
“I don’t know much about who will be there,” said Bronshteyn. “There has to be some good ones.”
Bronshteyn’s best dives have been an inward double (two somersaults, facing the springboard), an inward (swan dive, facing the board) and back twister (back somersault, two and a half twists).
He was in soccer and track before he realized he loves diving — “It feels like flying” — and could be good at it. He now dives year-round including workouts with clubs including the U of M.
His close win over Tech’s Jesse Lavoi, whom he’d beaten comfortably at section true-team, was stimulating.
“That was really fun, when it came down to the last two dives,” said Bronshteyn.
Schwab, who has placed as high as ninth in his multiple state trips, is determined to make the finals (top eight) and get on the medal stand for the first time. Based on his section times, he is seeded seventh in the IM and ninth in backstroke.
“Aaron had a real good section, and those are the best seeds he has had at state,” said Eidem. “He says he feels good. He pretty much knows what to do by now.”
Schwab might feel a bit lonesome at state this year. The past two years, he went to state with two relays as well as his main events. A young Elk lineup this year did not make state in any relays. But he’ll be able to devote all his energy to two events.
The finals — top eight for medals, the next eight for consolation points — advances to Saturday night’s concluding races and dives.