Boys state swimming: Breck/Blake overcomes lack of meet prep for 5th straight title

Brian Wright prides himself on the details.

So the co-head coach of the Breck/Blake swimming team was nervous entering Saturday’s Class A state swimming meet knowing his team had less time to prepare this season than any other.

Without a conference to swim in, Breck/Blake had just three competitions all season. The normal 14-week season was cut to 11 and Wright’s patented 2-plus hour practices were cut to a strict 90 minutes.

Yet those details were certainly accounted for Saturday as Breck/Blake cruised to the Class A state title, tallying 418.5 points. Sartell-St. Stephen finished in second with 237 points.

“With our shortened practices this year, we were not expecting the kinds of swims we had today. It’s going to be difficult to convince them to go back to two-hour practices next year,” Wright said with a chuckle.

Breck/Blake won six of the night’s 11 events, failing to place within the top three of a race just twice. Junior James Pan set the Class A record in both the 200 individual medley (1:47.90) and the 100 breaststroke (54.16). Junior Charlie Crosby won two individual state titles, setting the state record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.87. In the 200 freestyle relay, Pan and Crosby teamed with senior Mitchell Brown and eighth grader Henry Webb to set the Class A record with a time of 1:23.60.

“Every single minute of every single practice was getting ready for this moment,” Wright said, “and we didn’t even know if we’d have this moment.”

The championship is Breck/Blake’s fifth consecutive state title. The program also won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

The streak brings the program into a tie with St. Thomas Academy for the longest streak of championships in Class A history. St. Thomas Academy did it twice (1999-2003, 2012-2016).

“It’s been a great run,” Wright said. The state record for consecutive titles is held by Rochester, which won seven straight from 1953-1959.

South Metro standouts

Simley junior Nico Losinski won the 500 freestyle for the second consecutive year. His 4:40.15 time beat second-place Anthony Hoyt of Alexandria by more than three seconds. Losinski finished fourth in the 200 freestyle. Simley finished 13th as a team.

After placing second behind Breck/Blake last season, St. Thomas Academy finished 10th this season after graduating a large part of its core. Junior Ian Rutgers had the team’s top performance, placing fifth in the 500 freestyle.

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