The 2013 state meet was bittersweet for four East Ridge seniors.

Lindsey Lewis, Maddy Peters, Meredith Ubel and Taylor Johnson swam their final high school meet on the state’s biggest stage – the 2013 Class AA state meet, held Nov. 18-20 at the University of Minnesota. 

“You could tell they were a little emotional at the end knowing it was the end of their high school career,” East Ridge head coach Billy Cuevas said. 

The senior foursome finished in 17th place in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3 minutes, 39.36 seconds. They qualified for the state meet by taking second in the event at the Section 3AA meet, where they swam a school-record time of 3:39.22. Last year the same group placed 15th overall at the state meet with a time of 3:39.87. 

“It would’ve been nice if they could’ve made it to the finals, but that obviously wasn’t the case,” Cuevas said. “They were upset about it, but they swam well. It was just a very fast race.”

Chanhassen was this year’s state champion in the event with a time of 3:25.69, which was a new all-time Minnesota state record. In all, three all-time state records were broken at the state meet. In addition to the 400 free relay, Edina set the new state record in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:34.06 and Chanhassen set the state record in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:41.96. Wayzata won the Class AA state championship with 275 points. Minnetonka was second (232) and Edina was third (221).

“It was an extremely fast meet,” Cuevas said. “Probably one of the fastest ever in state history. That just shows the talent on the girls side. This state has become a powerhouse.”

In addition to helping lead the 400 free relay, Ubel and Lewis both qualified for the state meet in two individual events. Ubel advanced past the preliminary round into the finals in two events. Her best finish came in the 100-yard butterfly, where she placed 12th overall with a time of 58.31 seconds. Her prelim time of 58.21 had her seeded 15th in the finals. 

It was Ubel’s third straight trip to state. Ubel, who swam varsity for Park as a seventh grader and for East Ridge since eighth grade, finished 10th in the 100-yard butterfly at last year’s state meet with a time of 57.87 seconds, which was a personal best. Ubel also took 15th in the 200-yard freestyle at this year’s state meet with a time of 1:54.81, which set the new East Ridge record.

Lewis returned to state for a second time in the 500-yard freestyle, but also swam the 200 free at state for the first time.

Her top finish at state came in the 500 free, where she placed 12th overall in 5:06.84, which was a personal best time. She also took 19th place in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:55.28 in the prelims. 

At the section meet, Lewis took second place in the 500 with a time of 5:10.72 in the finals and finished in third place in the 200-yard freestyle at the section meet with a time of 1:55.46 in the finals, which beat the state meet qualifying time of 1:56.80. In all, five individuals edged the qualifying mark in the race to reach state, including Ubel, who was fifth in the section with a time of 1:56.62. 

“I’m very pleased with how everything went. Both Lindsey and Meredith dropped time in all their events,” Cuevas said. “Anytime you get your best time and place as high as they did you can’t be unhappy.”

One state entrant from East Ridge who will be returning to the team next year is diver Olivia Burleigh.

Burleigh, a freshman who was making her second-straight appearance at the state meet, finished 23rd in the state competition with a 136.0 point total. At state, the top 20 divers qualify for the semifinals and the top 16 move onto the finals. Mounds View senior Kiley Kuether won the event with score of 408.05 and Rochester Century sophomore Andrianna Jacobs took second with a 401.15 score.

“(Burleigh) had a little more pressure on her shoulders this year,” Cuevas said. “Being as young as she is, it may have gotten to her a little bit. But, to make it to state is a great experience for her. She still has three years ahead of her and she’s going to learn and grow from this.”

-Patrick Johnson