Boys’ swimming ends season at State

Swimmers qualify in a historic number of events


Lauren Thon

Junior Andre Barajas stands on his block waiting for his race to begin Feb. 18. Barajas and four others qualified for the Minnesota State swim meet.

Kate Schneider

Boys’ swimming qualified for State in seven events, sending five swimmers to the meet, the most sent in team history.

Senior captain Hayden Zheng said the State meet is his favorite of the season and having so many of his teammates at the meet made this year special.

“It was great. State is always the best meet of the year, it’s always fun. Then the team had the most State qualifiers ever, so that was pretty historic,” Zheng said.

According to head coach Amanda Forsberg, it felt great taking so many swimmers to State and having them perform so well.

“It’s probably the biggest group we’ve taken in awhile, we had individuals other than Hayden (Zheng) qualify for individual events which was a lot of fun,” Forsberg said. “And then we took two relays, and our medley relay was top eight, which means all four of those guys will be All-State.”  

According to junior Andre Barajas, the relays were the most exciting to watch and he was proud of Zheng for winning both his events. 

“The highlight was definitely the 200 medley relay, it was super hype to watch and all the boys did great. Also, of course Hayden’s races, and seeing him get first in the state, it’s super cool,” Barajas said.

Zheng said since he was also State champion last year, it felt good to have all his hard work pay off again this season.

“It felt good, it always feels good to come out on top, especially against such good competition. I knew going in that I was going to be chased as the defending champion so I knew I had my work cut out for me,” Zheng said. 

According to Barajas, there were guidelines in place to keep the swimmers safe and although the meet felt different because of it, he was glad they were able to have State at all.

“There were a lot of different rules and it was very closely monitored. There’s three pools at the (University of Minnesota) and we had certain time frames where we could practice in each where it’s usually a free for all,” Barajas said. “It was weird because we are usually on deck but this year we were in the stands and only the coaches were on deck and you could only go on deck to warm up, or when you were going up for your race.”

Zheng said he was grateful that even with the pandemic, the team made swimming feel normal while still making sure everyone was safe and healthy.

“Honestly (the season) wasn’t that different, our team did really great with all the safety guidelines. But when we got in that pool, with the red line on the bottom of the pool, it felt like normal season,” Zheng said. “That was a silver lining around the whole thing. We did a really great job of making the best of what we had and staying safe.”

Forsberg said having all the seniors at the meet was great because they’ve all swam together for so long and got to end their high school swimming career together.

“It’s nice bringing that senior group. It’s nice for them because they’ve been working really hard not just this year, but over the past four or five years,” Forsberg said. “Especially this year when they couldn’t train as much as they wanted to, it just shows their determination so I was really excited for them.”

According to Barajas, he is looking forward to his senior season next year and seeing where the team will go from here.

“I’m really looking forward to this new generation of swimmers. Our team has a lot of very young guys and I’m really excited to see how much they’re all going to improve next year,” Barajas said. “Just by how much I’ve seen them improve this year, I know next year is going to be great.”