Will Whittington has been setting records all season long.
The Stillwater senior set a new school, pool or meet record at every single meet this season but one. On Friday at the Class 2A state swimming and diving meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, he finally broke the milestone that had eluded him the entire season: a sub-20-second split on a 50-yard swim. And he did it twice.
“I could tell I was going fast,” Whittington said. “I knew I had it in me, but it never showed up at the meets. Having two 19s tonight was amazing.”
The first came in the final leg of the 200 medley relay and the second in the 200 freestyle relay. Stillwater, however, did not win either event, finishing third in the medley and second in the freestyle.
But Whittington swam in two other events, the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, and while he didn’t post a sub-20 in either one, he settled for a nice consolation prize: a pair of individual state titles.
“It meant a lot,” Whittington said of state titles, the first two of his career. “I really wanted to score a lot of points for my team, that was the goal today, and those state titles really put us ahead.”
Stillwater finished sixth as a team with 145 points. Edina won with 302 points.
Whittington, a University of Missouri commit, won the 50 with a time of 20:20 and the 100 with a time of 44.14, both automatic All-American qualifying times.
“He did a great job for us,” Stillwater coach Brian Luke said. “He had a great career here.”
Whittington’s performance was part of a teamwide performance that was amongst the Ponies’ best this season. Nearly every swimmer finished with a lifetime or season-best swim, Luke said. Senior Aidan Bloomquist finished fourth in the 200 individual medley and ninth in the 100 breaststroke. So while Luke was hoping for a top-three finish, he couldn’t complain.
“You really can’t argue with the effort. When they’re swimming their best times, you can’t say ‘Well, why didn’t you swim faster?’ ” he said. “Those other teams are just dang good.”
East metro standouts/state records
- Rosemount’s Evan Kindseth finished second in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:30.80.
- Sven Becker of East Ridge finished third in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 100 butterfly.
- Lakeville North’s Owen Teague finished fifth in both the 500 and 200 freestyle races.
- Lakeville South finished 10th as a team. Its top performance came in the 200 freestyle, finishing sixth. Freshman Gage Boushee had the top individual finish, coming in seventh in the 500 freestyle.
- Chanhassen-Chaska set a Class 2A and state record with a 1:25.54 swim in the 200 freestyle.
- St. Cloud Tech’s Chris Morris set the Class 2A and state records with a 48.11 time in the 100 butterfly.