Last weekend Barracuda Aquatics Club served as host to a long-course outdoor swim meet at Bloomington Family Aquatic Center that served as a last-chance qualifier for the pending Minnesota Swimming (USA Swimming) state championship meets.
Barracuda, with locations in Bloomington and Shakopee, was the host club for 475 swimmers representing 13 club-level programs in the Minnesota Swimming-sanctioned event.
The club has traveled more than usual this summer in search of prime long-course training that included an intense two-a-day week-long training trip to Florida, a first for Lee with the club, in addition to regional meets from Eau Claire, Wisconsin (June 24-25) to Alexandria (June 17-18) and Richfield (June 2-4).
Club President Jeff Lee said they look at the performance from each meet as a building block to toward success at the championship meets.
“Finding outdoor long course meets is always difficult and as a result we do a lot of traveling because of it,” he explained. “We’re not looking at team wins but more about getting acclimated to the settings and eventually improve the times. We don’t want our swimmers still getting comfortable to the long course when it comes time to qualify for state.”
The Bloomington pool along with the pool at Veterans Park in Richfield are the only long course pools in the area and as a result are in high demand during the summer months.
That acclimation process to the outdoor and longer settings didn’t begin at the facility at Valley View until June 12, when the Bloomington Family Aquatic Center officially opened its doors. The club season kicked off in April with indoor long course meets at the University of Minnesota and a Memorial Day weekend trip to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Twenty older members of Barracuda went on the training trip to Florida and Lee said the team looked collectively very good in the first meet back in Eau Claire. “The kids looked sharp and strong and the kids said they felt they were in better shape and we all look forward to see what’s happening over the next month.”
Recent Jefferson graduate Amelia Bjorklund plans to swim at Gustavus Adolphus and has been a leader on the club for the last four years. “She’s been just fantastic for us and its bittersweet that we’re saying goodbye to her this summer,” Lee said. “She’s taken a step-up over the last year-and-a-half and it will be fun to see how she finishes up.”
Holly Holman is another Jefferson swimmers Lee anticipates a big finish to the club season after recovering from a broken toe. “We hope to get her back in time for state, otherwise she’ll be going into the Jefferson season in the best shape of her life.”
Look for 14-year-old sprint freestyle specialist Tori Sigfried who will be a freshman at Jefferson this fall. Lee said she’s already qualified for the central zone and state championships.
On the boys side, Lee anticipates a young group to continue to improve over the next few seasons including Jefferson eighth grader Preston Le who excels in each of the four strokes, already qualifying for the state championships in August and appears on track to qualify early for the central zone meet. Jefferson freshman Carlos Andert is another up-and-coming swimmer. The 15-year-old specializes in the fly events and has qualified for the 100 and 200 fly at state in a new age group. Andert and Le are joined by sophomore Alex Johnson who decided to join the club team this summer and has quickly improved. “He’s a high-school swimmer first who came to us and is taking swimming a lot more serious now and for a kid like that is impressive. He went to the Florida training trip and was really impressive,” Lee said about Johnson.
The state meet is at the University of Minnesota July 26-30 with he central zone championships at the same pool two weeks later. Two Barracuda swimmers from Shakopee will compete in a U.S. Futures meet later in the summer in Lewiston, Texas.
BIG hosts sections
The Bloomington Ice Garden and the Figure Skating Club of Bloomington will host the 2018 Midwest Sectional Figure Skating Championships November 15-19.
The top four skaters in the ladies and men’s events at each of nine regional championships qualify for one of three sectional championships. The event coming to Bloomington in November is the only qualifying phase for pairs and ice dance to reach the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.
Wally Gelecinkyi and Dionne Meisterling serve as Midwestern Sectionals Co-Chairs.
Renee Greenfield was a silver medalist at adult nationals.
Follow Jason Olson on Twitter at @SunSportsJason