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Panthers advance to finals at state swim meet

It was a record-setting day for the Park Rapids boys swimming team during the preliminaries of the state Class A meet Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

The Panthers broke four school records and had two individuals and all three relay teams advance to Saturday's finals.

Marcus Benson (25.47 in the backstroke), Spencer Fritze (26.98 in the breaststroke), Zach Behrens (23.85 in the butterfly) and Matthew Benson (21.83 in the freestyle) finished fourth in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:38.13 to earn a spot in the finals. That broke their school record of 1:39.52 set during the Section 5A meet.

Marcus Benson also qualified for the finals with a sixth-place time of 53.68 in the 100-yard backstroke. That broke his school record of 54.09 set during the section meet. Thomas Williams earned the final spot in the consolation finals of the 100-yard backstroke by placing 16th in 57.37. Williams clocked a 56.68 at the section meet.

Matthew Benson (49.22), Behrens (50.33), Marcus Bensosn (51.22) and Fritze (50.05) finished 12th in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a 3:20.82 to qualify for Saturday's consolation finals. That broke the school record of 3:21.33 that group set at the section meet.

Park Rapids also qualified for the consolation finals in the 200-yard freestyle relay as Spencer Fritze (22.78), Zach Fritze (22.87), Behrens (22.32) and Matthew Benson (21.83) clocked a 1:29.80 for 15th place. That time broke the school record of 1:30.65 that group set at the section meet.

Matthew Benson just missed qualifying for the consolation finals after placing 20th in 49.70 in the 100-yard freestyle. Benson qualified for state with a 49.48.

Spencer Fritze will enter Saturday's finals in diving in second place. Fritze led the field after the first five dives during Thursday's preliminaries with 186.05 points and was in second place after the next three dives in the semifinals with 275.25 points. Sauk Rapids/Rice's Jack Grabinski sits in first place with 290.55 points with three dives remaining.

The finals begin Saturday at 11 a.m.