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East Ridge girls swimming & diving: Raptors’ senior foursome makes splash into state

East Ridge senior Lindsey Lewis swims in the 500-yard freestyle Friday at the Section 3AA meet at Richfield Middle School. Lewis placed second to qualify for the state meet. (Bulletin photo by Nick Gerhardt)

Four East Ridge Raptors will finish their high school swim careers on the state’s biggest stage.

East Ridge seniors Lindsey Lewis, Maddy Peters, Meredith Ubel and Taylor Johnson qualified for the 2013 Class AA state meet in the 400-yard freestyle relay, taking second in the event at the Section 3AA meet on Friday at Richfield Middle School.

The Raptors’ senior foursome swam a school-record time of 3 minutes, 39.22 seconds in the event. Rosemount took first in 3:32.38, which was a pool and Section 3AA record.

“You definitely want all the seniors to have a great experience and end up with their final meet being state, especially since they’ve made it in the past,” East Ridge head coach Billy Cuevas said. “The fact we were able to qualify once again, with a team record, you can’t ask for a better ending.”

Last year the same group placed 15th overall at the state meet with a time of 3:39.87. Lewis said the relay team reaching state, again, was the highlight of the section meet for her.

“It’s exciting knowing we’re all going, because we’re all seniors,” Lewis said. “We’ve been swimming together for so long in club and through high school. It stands out for me.”

In all, East Ridge will be sending four swimmers and one diver to the state meet — which will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 18-20, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center — in five events. The Raptors finished third in the section with 313.5 points. Rosemount won the meet with 478.5 points. Woodbury was second with 329 points.

“I’m very happy with how everybody did,” Cuevas said. “Just about everyone came in and got best times. We definitely trained harder this year than we ever have and it paid off in the end.”

Lewis and Ubel qualified for state in three events – two individual events and the one relay. In addition to the 400 free relay, Lewis earned a trip in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle and Ubel qualified for state in the 200 free and the 100-yard butterfly.

It will be Ubel’s third straight trip to state. Ubel, who swam varsity for Park as a seventh grader and for East Ridge since eighth grade, finished 10th in the 100-yard butterfly at last year’s state meet with a time of 57.87 seconds, which was a personal best. Ubel also qualified for the 50 free last year, but missed qualifying for the finals after swimming a time of 24.57 seconds in the prelims.

At the section meet, Ubel finished second in the 100 fly with a time of 57.88, just back of Rosemount junior Grace Herron, who won with a time of 57.16.

“She knows what to expect in the 100 fly,” Cuevas said. “At state, hopefully she’ll go faster and get an even better time.”

Ubel said the hope now is to earn all-state honors, which go to the top eight finishers at the state meet in each event.

“I really want to make top eight now,” Ubel said. “That’s my goal. I’m a senior and I really want to be all-state this year. It’s my last chance to do it.”

Lewis is back at state for a second time in the 500-yard freestyle, but will be swimming the 200 free at state for the first time.

At the section meet, Lewis took second place in the 500 with a time of 5:10.72 in the finals. Rosemount freshman Katie Garrity won the race in 5:04.34.

“I’m high on life right now,” Lewis said. “It’s kind of hard to process, because it doesn’t feel real.”

Lewis finished in third place in the 200-yard freestyle at the section meet with a time of 1:55.46 in the finals, which beat the state meet qualifying time of 1:56.80. In all, five individuals edged the qualifying mark in the race to reach state, including Ubel, who was fifth with a time of 1:56.62.

Lewis said she and Ubel have a “good rivalry” going in the 200 free.

“She’s pushed me a lot,” Lewis said. “We’ve been training together all season. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have gotten that time if Meredith wasn’t in that race with me. I give her a lot of credit.”

Last year, in addition to being part of the 400 free relay, Lewis finished with a time of 5:15.19 in the state prelims of the 500 free and did not qualify for the finals. However, this year, she said the goal is to get all-state.

East Ridge freshman diver Olivia Burleigh will also be going to the state meet — her second.

With the top four divers in the section earning trips to state, Burleigh edged Woodbury freshman Meghan Miller for fourth place. The third, fourth and fifth place divers were all within one point of each other. Burleigh finished with 337.85 points. Miller had 337.45 points and Rosemount senior Sawyer Murray had 338.15 points for third. Park junior Sarah Schank won the event with a score of 377.10.

“It was a nail-biter until the end,” Cuevas said. “Luckily she was able to sneak in.”

Last year the Raptors finished 27th overall as a team with 11 team points. Edina won the Class AA state meet with 228 points and Wayzata finished second with 222 points.

“Overall I hope to have the girls in the five events all qualify for the finals,” Cuevas said. “The U of M is one of the best pools in the country. A lot of international competitions are held there. It’s great to compete and end our season at such an elite facility and against elite competition as well.”

-Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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