Thompson, Johnson, Chatwin lead Ranger charge
The Forest Lake boys swimming and diving team captured the Section 7AA team championship for the third straight season on Feb. 25 at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, scoring 445 points to easily outdistance runners-up Centennial (323.5) and the remainder of the eight-team field. Along the way, Rangers set four all-time Section 7AA records, five venue records and seven school records.
Three of the team captains, seniors Wyatt Thompson and Duncan Johnson and junior Ben Chatwin, put on a show of speed unmatched in the history of the Forest Lake program.
Chatwin contributed 40 points to the Ranger total by winning the 50-yard freestyle in 21.11 and the 100-yard freestyle in 46.33, setting pool and section records in both cases. Johnson also added 40 points by claiming a pair of championships in the 100-yard backstroke (53.72) and 200-yard individual medley (1:55.68), the latter being a pool record and just over six-tenths of a second off the sectional record set in 2000 by Tony Swanson (Coon Rapids). Thompson scored 37 points individually, winning the 200-yard freestyle (1:43.07) and placing second in the 500-yard freestyle (4:46.71).
All six of those performances set new school records and qualified those Rangers for this weekend’s Class AA state championships in their respective events.
The winners and runners-up in each event qualified for state. The first 16 finishers in each race scored points toward the team total.
Chatwin, Johnson and Thompson also contributed to two relay championships, worth a combined total of 80 points, and set pool and section records in both. Joined by freshman Will Chatwin, the Rangers swam the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:13.33. With freshman Alec Jankowski, the Rangers won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:26.67, which is also a Forest Lake record.
Ben Chatwin, Thompson and Johnson will thus swim in four events at the state championships, which run from March 2-4 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The Rangers had many other swimmers earn medals at sectionals. Bronze medal finishes were claimed by sophomore Liam Hunter in the 200 free (1:51.48), junior Connor Klein in the 200 medley (2:04.12), eighth-grader Max True in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.70) and the 200 medley relay team (Klein, True, Jankowski and senior Journey Roberge, 1:42.90). Klein finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.29). Hunter placed fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:05.98), as did freshman Andrew Jensen in the 1-meter diving (331.8 points); Jensen just missed a trip to the state meet, with the top four divers moving on.
Sixth-place medals were claimed by Jankowski in the 50 (23.14) and 100 freestyle (50.96) and by Will Chatwin in the 100 backstroke (59.34). Finishing seventh were Roberge in the 50 freestyle (23.31) and seventh-grader Riley Jankowski in the 100 backstroke (59.70).