FL swimmers blow away competition

The Ranger boys swimming and diving team traveled north last Saturday and took first out of eight teams.

Forest Lake tallied 473 points at the Duluth Invite, breaking two meet records previously held by former Rangers. In all, eight of 12 event records were broken during the day, including a dive total score of 384.4 by Cambridge-Isanti senior Parker Brown, shattering the 326.15 pool record.

The invite opened with first-year Ranger diver, junior Grant Taylor, placing ninth in a field of 18 divers and the 200-yard medley relay team of junior Mitch Clayton, junior Michael Palo, senior Stefan Albright and ninth-grader Duncan Johnson taking second with a time of 1:47.99.

In the 200-yard freestyle, eighth-grader Ben Chatwin took third in 1:53.49, senior Andrew Bowes took fifth (1:56.23) and sophomore Brad Youngquist captured eighth place (2:00.58). In the 200-yard individual medley, Johnson placed second with a time of 2:13.10 while Palo took sixth in 2:17.29.

Junior Corey Bahr earned second place in the 50-yard freestyle in 23:10, followed by senior Bryan Fleming in fourth with 23.52, and junior Cameron Parrucci in seventh with a time of 24.00. Rangers Albright and Fleming finished fourth (58.84) and sixth (59.04), respectively, in the 100-yard butterfly. In the 100-yard freestyle, it was Bahr finishing second in 50.48 and Clayton in eighth in 54.86.

In the 500 freestyle, where the meet record of 5:19.81 had been set by former Ranger Joel Stomberg in 2013, Chatwin finished first in 5:10.88. Behind him were seniors and team captains, Bowes in fourth (5:22.70) and senior Dominick Thompson (5:43:12) in eighth.
The Ranger 200-yard freestyle relay team of Bahr, Bowes, Chatwin and Fleming finished in a fast 1:33.50 to take second in the event.

It was a four-six-seven-eight finish in the 100 backstroke for Clayton (1:02.02), Johnson (1:03.43), Albright (1:07.42) and senior Jacob Gregerson (1:07.69), and in the 100 breaststroke it was Palo finishing second in 1:07.60, sophomore Matt Clayton in fourth in 1:10.28 and junior captain Tim Brennhofer taking seventh in 1:11.03.

Finally, in a highlight of the day, Ranger swimmers Parrucci, Chatwin, Fleming and Bahr set an event record, swimming a 3:26.63 in the 400 free relay, replacing the record of 3:26.77 held by the 2013 Ranger team of Bahr, Stomberg, Fleming and Joe Goossens.

Head coach Barbara Vailodash said her squad reached their goal for the day.

“The team went into the meet with a goal of breaking some, if not all, of last year’s Forest Lake team pool records, and take the win,” Vailodash said. “They achieved both goals by swimming many fast times and numerous personal bests to accomplish this outcome. I knew the team was going to finish strong, their times compared to the competitors were much faster, and many more of our athletes were ranked in the top 16 scoring positions. I believe these athletes see now that working hard every day in practice does pay off.”

Clayton, a captain, reiterated the excitement of breaking so many records.

“Everyone gave 100 percent and swam their hardest to help the team win,” Clayton said. “Many Rangers set personal records and that was a bonus to our victory.”

The Duluth Invite results were an upbeat finish to the week — a week in which the Rangers were not able to train as scheduled due to unexpected school closings for record low temperatures. Those same low temps also led to the postponement of the Mounds View meet. Two days later, the Rangers were handed their first dual meet loss of the season to Stillwater at home with the Ponies scoring 99 and the Rangers 78, taking the Rangers overall dual meet record to 3-1.

Next up the Rangers travel to Hastings on Thursday, Jan. 16, and the True Team Sections at Northdale on Saturday, Jan. 18.