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Four Park swimmers qualify for State

Team breaks records, go into State seeded highly

Kirby Goodman

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Junior David Salamzadeh competes in the 200-yard individual medley. Salamzadeh placed fourth with a time of 2:00.30.

When goal-setting for his second career State meet, senior captain Nils Rykken said enjoying his last experience is a high school swimmer is his main aim.

“For me, the main goal is just to have fun because this is my last time around,” Rykken said. “I want to remember this.”

According to head coach Amanda Forsberg, four Park swimmers qualified for the State meet at Sections Feb. 25 and will compete in five individual and two relay events.

Forsberg said although she expected her swimmers to qualify for State, she was pleasantly surprised by how well they performed under the pressure of Section finals.

“The ones who made it, it was definitely expected. Some of their times were a lot faster than I thought they’d be so that’s exciting,” Forsberg said. “We’re going in seeded a lot better than I thought we would be.”

Rykken, who won the 50 yard freestyle event in the Section finals with a time of 21.80, said the the feeling of finding out he qualified for State was a reward for his hard work during the season.

“(State is) what you train for for three months so it feels really good. It’s nice to hear that you accomplished your goals,” Rykken said.

Junior David Salamzadeh said winning the 200-yard medley relay alongside Rykken, senior Nate Stone and 8th grader Hayden Zheng was a standout moment of Sections. The team won the event with a time of 1:37.78 and qualified to swim the event at State, seeded eighth.

“(The best moment) was probably the end of our 200-yard medley relay, because it was a close race and it was really nice to win,” Salamzadeh said.

Forsberg said she felt excited about the team’s performance and ability to come together under the pressure of Sections.

“I was really pleased. Everyone dropped a ton of time. Everyone had lifetime bests. They came together, it was a lot of fun,” Forsberg said.

Rykken said the team’s performance at sections was a success, despite the team’s disappointing narrow loss to Cretin-Derham Hall.

“(Section finals) went really well. We broke six team records and placed third in the Section,” Rykken said. “We were three points away from second which was a little hard, but we were still really proud of ourselves.”

Salamzadeh said swimmers will prepare for State by continuing light practices and tapering of yardage.

“(Training is) going to be pretty easy, it’s just more continuing of our taper up until the state meet,” Salamzadeh said.

Forsberg said she sees possibility for her swimmers to make it in the top eight in their five individual and two relay events, which would put them on the State podium.

“I think we have an outside chance of getting some people in the top eight, which would be really exciting,” Forsberg said.

The State meet takes place March 3 and 4 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

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Four Park swimmers qualify for State