By virtue of the oddities of this season's Class A swimming and diving state championships, Faribault senior Tanner Longhore has a clear benchmark that he can clear to reach his goal.
Longshore enters the state meet seeded 17th in the 50-yard freestyle, with the top 16 finishers placing and scoring points, meaning he needs to pass one swimmer seeded ahead of him. Due to safety protocols pertaining to COVID-19, a maximum of four lanes can be used for one heat.
For Longshore's heat of the 50 freestyle, it's only him and a swimmer from Monticello High School and one from Bemidji High School that are both seeded faster than him.
"That’s exactly what we want," Faribault coach Charlie Fuller said. "We want Tanner to go after (them), so we wouldn’t want him to be swimming against someone he’s faster than.”
It was a similar situation that helped Longshore qualify for state in the 50 freestyle. The Section 1A meet was broken into two pods, with Longshore and the Falcons swimming in the early afternoon portion of the meet.
Longshore finished second in his pod behind Mankato West's Charlie Simpson — the favorite to win the event entering the meet — and held onto the second-place finish even after the late afternoon pod swam and all finished behind Simpson and Longshore to snag the final state qualification spot.
This week, Fuller has been putting Longshore through a mini-taper to try and squeeze a few more tenths of a second out of his race, but at this stage, the majority of practice is spent on technique.
"I’m doing something I haven’t done before and training for his specific turns, for his starts, for his breakouts and for different aspects of the 50," Fuller said. "Just trying to get everything as cleaned up technically as we can, so all he has to do at the state meet is get going.”
The Class A swimming portion of the state meet is scheduled for Saturday at the University of Minnesota. Longshore and the other state qualifiers from Section 1 start the meet at noon alongside swimmers from Section 3, Section 5 and Section 7. The other four sections start their meet at 6 p.m.
“He looks good, he’s in a great mood," Fuller said. "We told him where he’s seeded and he’s ready to go.”