By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
Mankato East/Loyola senior Bobby Schultze saved his best for last on Saturday, dropping time in nearly every event at the Class A State Swimming & Diving Finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
For Schultze, his best event was the 200-yard individual medley. He finished eighth to earn All-State status with a time of 2:02.65.
Schultze also cut more than a second off his time in the 100-butterfly to finish ninth in 54.42.
“We went from a three-week taper to a two-week taper this year, and it seemed to work well,” Schultze said. “I wasn’t sure on Thursday of our section meet, but it sure worked on Saturday.”
For Schultze, Saturday’s strong performance was bittersweet. It marked the first time in his career he delivered a top-eight finish, but it also marked the end of his prep swim career.
“I just thought about it being over last week and it was pretty sad,” he said. “I’ve been swimming year-round for almost six years now so it’s going to be hard to walk away.”
Schultze was also part of two relay teams that placed in the top 16 Saturday.
The Cougars’ 200-free relay squad of Schultze, Jack Adams, Brett Petersen and Cory Kriesel placed 12th in 1:31.18. The same four swimmers also placed 12th in the 400-free relay with a time of 3:21.72.
The Cougars’ Nathan Dreyer finished 16th in the 100-breaststroke in 1:03.26. East/Loyola ended up in 19th place for the meet with 41 points.
West sophomore Noah Bjork placed 12th in the 1-meter dive with 303.40 points. His brother Jake, a senior, also placed in two events.
Jake Bjork finished 13th in the 200-freestyle (1:50.04) and cut more than three seconds off his time in the 500-free to place 10th in 5:00.34.
The Scarlets ended up in 30th place with 16 points. St. Thomas Academy won the meet with 263 points.