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Lindbergh swim team makes a splash at state championships, finishes 12th


February 16, 2005 - By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

When taking over the Lindbergh High School swimming and diving program several years ago, head coach Tim Lombardo set a goal of making his team a consistent top-10 finisher at the state championships.

With a strong performance at the state meet last week, the Flyers are about ready to bang down the door.

Lindbergh placed 12th of 39 teams with 54 points, but Lombardo already is guaging his team's chances for next season.

"Right now I'm pretty excited," Lom-bardo told the Call. "The good news is that those who went to state will be returning for next year."

The Flyers got off to a good start in the first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay. Lindbergh placed eighth overall with a time of 1:42.94 as junior Ryan Har-rison swam the backstroke leg, sophomore James Goodman swam the breaststroke leg, junior Eric Witzel swam the butterfly leg and junior Mikey Strom anchored the freestyle portion.

"We were a little quicker in the prelims on Friday than we were on Saturday," Lombardo said. "This relay has been pretty strong all year for us and we're pretty excited to be in the top eight."

Strom came back several events later to take 14th in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:58.39.

"The 500 free has been a phenomenal event for us all year," Lombardo said. "Mik-ey had an unbelievable year and he swam right on his personal best at state."

Harrison followed Strom's performance by breaking the school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 55.22 seconds in the preliminary round on Friday. In the consolation finals, Harrison took 11th overall with a time of 55.33 seconds.

"Ryan has probably had his best year

(See SPLASH, Page 17A)

with us overall," Lombardo said. "He really stepped it up in the backstroke and broke his own school record in that event."

Goodman also snapped a school record for the Flyers, turning in a time of 1:01.82 during the preliminaries of the 100-yard breaststroke. He followed up his record-breaking performance with an eighth-place finish and a time of 1:02.73.

"James had an unbelievable season and was undefeated in dual meets in the 100 breast this season," Lombardo said. "He really went into this meet with a lot of confidence."

Lindbergh junior Matt Zeis also scored points for the Flyers in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 15th-place finish and a time of 1:03.48, which was over three-tenths of a second faster than his swim in the preliminaries.

"Matt's worked as hard as anybody all season," Lombardo said. "He was having a frustrating year in that he was right on the cut until our last dual meet. We go into conference and he goes a 1:05 and now a 1:03. We're really excited for him."

The Flyers capped off the weekend with a 12th place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:25.25. The team of Strom, sophomore Niko Filipi, Harrison and Zeis registered a time that was more than two seconds faster than its performance in the preliminaries.

"We actually swam pretty well on Friday (Feb. 11) in the prelims," Lombardo said. "We made a couple of adjustments where we put Strom on the leadoff and moved Harrison and Zeis to the back of the relay to get some rest after swimming their events right before the relay. We were really happy with placing 12th."

Lombardo believes that this year's squad has not only taken the Flyers to one step closer to their goal of a consistent top-10 finish at state every year, but it's also setting a standard for Lindbergh teams of the future.

"I think that this group of guys can really set the tone for years to come," Lombardo said. "Hopefully we'll be that much better come next year."

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