Century defends team title
Section swimming and diving meets are all about qualifying individuals for the state tournament. But Century doesn't mind claiming a team championship as well.
The Panthers captured their fourth straight Section 1AA Swimming and Diving Championship on Saturday at the Recreation Center in Rochester. Century had 386 points to easily outdistance runner-up Northfield, which had 288.
"This is my fourth season on the team and our fourth section championship so that feels pretty good," Century senior Alex Cox said.
In the process, the Panthers qualified a number of swimmers for the Class AA state meet. Century had competitors advance to state in seven of the 11 swimming events. Cox and junior Chris Freeman both qualified in two individual events and two relays. Junior Andrew Grosbach, like Freeman, won a pair of individual championships.
"It's my first year on the team and I like winning," Grosbach said.
"It's good to keep the streak going," Freeman said of another team title.
Freeman was named the swimmer of the meet. He won the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Freeman bested Cox in the 200 freestyle as the teammates had a 1-2 section finish to both earn state berths.
"It feels good," Freeman said. "It's probably a friendly rivalry."
Cox was the section champion in the 200 freestyle a year ago.
"If I'm going to get beat my anyone, I'm glad it's him," Cox said. "He had a good swim."
Cox was able to defend his section title in the 500 freestyle. It was also an event in which he won a state championship a year ago.
"The most satisfying of all, that I was most happy with, was the 500," Cox said. "I think I set myself up for a good state meet."
Century sophomore Chris Tri also earned a state berth in the 500 freestyle with a runner-up finish.
"My teammate Chris Tri had a fabulous race," Cox said. "He dropped a lot of time and made it to state."
Tri also joined Cox, Freeman and Dennis Draper on the winning 400 freestyle relay team. It was one of two Century relays to earn a state berth. In the 200 freestyle relay, Draper, Cox, Freeman and Robert Real placed second and earned a berth by reaching the time standard.
"It's been a fun season to swim with everybody and be a part of a good team," Freeman said.
Grosbach, in his first year with the Panthers after being in club swimming, joined the fun. He won section championships in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke.
"I think I did pretty good," the modest Grosbach said. "I'm good at both of them (the IM and backstroke), I guess."
The Panthers will now compete in the Class AA state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The swimming preliminary round is on Friday with the finals on Saturday.
"We'll have to see what happens," Freeman said of the state meet.