Two Elk River swimmers will represent the Elks at the 2020 Class 2A state swimming finals on Feb. 29 at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis after advancing in the preliminaries on Feb. 28.

Junior Sam Hlavachek finished fourth in the semifinals 1-meter dive with a score of 261.05 and junior Preston Schmeidel finished 11th in the 100-yard butterfly, hitting the wall for the last time in 52.12 seconds, beating out his seed time in the sections by almost a second. He finished his section race in 52.90.

Head coach Denise Green said she was thrilled that Schmeidel advanced to the finals.

"He's had a challenging season," Green said. "This is his second-best time ever in the 100-[yard] fly. He's excited to come back tomorrow and get even faster." 

Elk River sent two swimmers and one diver to the state tournament. Junior Arteom Katkov also represented the Elks in the state tournament preliminaries in the 200-yard individual medley. Katkov didn't qualify for the finals, finishing in 2:00.39 and finished 26th.

Green said this was Katkov's first trip to the state tournament and the nerves of competing at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center, the home pool of the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher men's and women's swimming and diving teams got to him.

"This is an awesome facility," Green said. "He was a little awestruck. He had a great warmup. He looked good. That's [his] second-best time ever. The competition down here at the state meet is extremely fast. He will be back next year for sure."

What's next

Hlavachek will to compete in the 1-meter dive finals and Schmeidel will compete in the 200-yard individual medley final on Feb. 29 at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

Schmeidel says he wants to polish a few things before his last race of the season.

"There were a few things that I was sloppy on, but those can easily be cleaned up," Schmeidel said. "I'm excited to swim even faster tomorrow. I can work on getting my streamlines a little tighter of the walls. I'll be able to bring my time down a bit. That's my main focus."

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