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Sophomore swimmer breaks all-time State record

Park's Hayden Zheng, relay team place at State Tournament

Sophomore+Hayden+Zheng+warms+up+before+he+swims+the+100+breaststroke+at+the+AA+boys%27+swimming+State+meet+March+5+at+the+University+of+Minnesota.+
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Sophomore swimmer breaks all-time State record

Sophomore Hayden Zheng warms up before he swims the 100 breaststroke at the AA boys' swimming State meet March 5 at the University of Minnesota.

Sophomore Hayden Zheng warms up before he swims the 100 breaststroke at the AA boys' swimming State meet March 5 at the University of Minnesota.

Maddie Schutte

Sophomore Hayden Zheng warms up before he swims the 100 breaststroke at the AA boys' swimming State meet March 5 at the University of Minnesota.

Maddie Schutte

Maddie Schutte

Sophomore Hayden Zheng warms up before he swims the 100 breaststroke at the AA boys' swimming State meet March 5 at the University of Minnesota.

By Dani Orloff and Noah Orloff

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As sophomore boys’ swimmer Hayden Zheng realized he had broken the all-time State record in Minnesota for the 100-yard breaststroke, he said he felt thrilled, which was displayed in his post-swim repeated splashes in the water.

“Going in I was not expecting the 53.8, so I looked up at the time, and I was ecstatic,” Zheng said. “If you see the reaction, it speaks for itself.”

According to boys’ swimming coach Amanda Forsberg, Zheng was able to place first in both the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley (IM) at AA State Feb. 28 to March 2 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.  

“Hayden broke his own two team records. He broke the State record in the 100 breast,” Forsberg said. “He also won the 200 IM.”

Zheng, who was competing for his third time at State, said the atmosphere was different this time, as he was the defending champion in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“The reason it was different this year was in the past I’ve always had someone to chase. I hadn’t been going in seeded first but this year I’m the target, people were chasing me,” Zheng said. “So, in that sense it was different, but intensity-wise my favorite meet of the year.”

I looked up at the time, and I was ecstatic. If you see the reaction, it speaks for itself.”

— Hayden Zheng

According to senior Luke Anderson, a member of the competing 200-yard medley team, when they qualified for State, their less rigorous training as State approached finally caught up, allowing them to have fast times.

“We also got the team record. Before it was 137.29 and now it’s 136.62,” Anderson said. “It was real exciting to see the season come together.”

According to Forsberg, Park’s 200-yard medley team came in ninth place, which included Zheng, Anderson, senior Max Bechtold and junior Will Schwietering. According to the Minnesota State High School League, Park’s relay had a preliminary time that kept them in the B group, locking them from joining the A group. Their final race time would have put them in eighth place if they were able to join the A group.

“The medley relay won the consolation heat and actually their time would have placed them in the top eight,” Forsberg said.

Zheng said improving his skills as well as those of his team encouraged him in the pool.

“Just always getting faster — that’s what keeps me motivated — helping my team get better,” Zheng said.

According to Forsberg, improvement could be seen throughout the whole boys’ swimming team as they competed at Sections and State this year.

“Everyone just swam really well. It came together at the end. Everyone dropped a ton of time,” Forsberg said. “I could run through and list probably everyone on our team that did an amazing job at Sections.”

Anderson, who has swam on the team for many years, said his final season swimming for Park ended on a high note — gaining a team record for the 200-yard medley relay with his fellow swimmers.

“I’m really happy with how the season went. It feels crazy that it’s already over. It went by really fast,” Anderson said. “It was a good way to end six years on the team.”

This story was originally published on The Echo on March 5, 2019.

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