Aquajets Boys Smash National Age Group Record in 13-14 400 Free Relay

aquajets-relay

Aquajets Boys Smash National Age Group Record in 13-14 400 Free Relay

A foursome from the Aquajets Swim Team near Minneapolis has broken the National Age Group record in the boys’ 400 freestyle relay. They were competing against mostly older swimmers at the Minnesota Senior State meet, and they put up a time of 3:36.01. That broke the previous record of 3:37.47 set by Irvine Novaquatics in 2019. This group consisted of Drew Ploof (54.41), Jiarui Xue (54.58), Evan Witte (54.67) and Henry Webb (52.35).

The Aquajets posted video of the exciting race, which took place at the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center, on Instagram.

The Aquajets are a nationally-recognized club just outside of Minneapolis. 2012 U.S. Olympic backstroker Rachel Bootsma swam for the Aquajets, and most recently, Olympic Trials finalist backstroker Isabelle Stadden came up with the Aquajets before heading west to swim for Cal.

During the winter of 2020-21, when the Aquajets were kept out of the water for a brief period because of COVID-19 restrictions, the team led a food and clothing drive to keep the sense of team strong and give back to their community. Read the full Swimming World story on that project here.

The Aquajets Swim Team had just gotten used to being back in the water together, when a second halt to sports in Minnesota brought their rekindled time together to another pause.

Knowing the team could be back out of the water for another long period of time, coaches wanted to keep the swimmers in the club involved in the community as well as with each other.

So, led by assistant coach Leah Foreman-Keiser, the Aquajets, a USA Swimming club, began to do service projects in the community.

“This time, we were in the pool from early September until just before Thanksgiving when the Governor put a pause on youth sports, indoor dining, and bars and gyms. Since cases had been rising dramatically leading up to that, most schools had also gone mostly online by that point too. So once again, we were all stuck at home with no swim practice or physical outlet,” Foreman-Keiser told Swimming World. “We had been talking as a staff, even before the pause, about doing something community-focused to get the kids thinking about something outside of themselves and did a small poster-making drive to send colorful, inspirational posters and signs to a local nursing home The kids made them at home and brought them to practice. This wrapped up just before the shutdown.”

That got the momentum rolling as the team led a food and clothing drive, partnering with local non-profits like Community Action Partnership.

The drive-thru came together as we brainstormed ways to see the kids and do something good for the community,” Foreman-Keiser said. “One of our assistant coaches, Erin Hawker, selected the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Scott, Carver, and Dakota counties as the organization to support, as she had prior experience working with them. They support local families in need with a food shelf, clothing donations, etc. Our team draws swimmers from all over the western and southwestern Twin Cities metro area, and many of our families live in towns in those counties.”

It has been a difficult time for clubs around the world trying to maintain a sense of togetherness. This was another step in the right direction for the Aquajets.

“We had a fantastic time and are happy to be able to share the experience and idea with others. It all stemmed from conversations our coaching staff had around how we can encourage our swimmers to look outside of themselves during such an isolating time,” Aquajets assistant coach Megan Hughes said.

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