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Pechmann qualifies for Olympic Trials in swimming

Luke Pechmann thought he had an outside shot at qualifying for the Olympic Trials on Saturday.

Instead, he blew the standard out of the water.

Pechmann, a state champion swimmer for Moorhead High School last winter, swam a 23.27 in the 50-meter freestyle at the Thunder Bay (Ont.) Invitational. The qualifying standard for the Olympic Trials is 23.49.

"That definitely surprised me," Pechmann said. "We looked to go for it in the prelims, and I swam 23.61. "I just went for it again."

The Olympic Trials are set for June 29-July 5 in Omaha, Neb.

Pechmann swam 23.89 at the Junior Nationals in March, and realized he had a shot at hitting the standard. Pechmann, who committed to swim in college at the University of Arizona, did a crash course on lengthening his stroke for the move to the big pool. It paid off on Saturday.

"It's really exciting because it was something that was very distant for me as far as goals," Pechmann said. "Everything came together, and it's all happened pretty fast."

Moorhead coach Pat Anderson said he thought it was something Pechmann could hit, and all of the Spuds are enjoying the ride.

"A lot of things had to come together, but this was something I thought he had the potential to get to," Anderson said. "It really was a special moment for all of us."

Pechmann may have discovered a new pre-race routine. Before the meet, Pechmann, Anderson and some of Pechmann's friends engaged in an hour-long game of ultimate Frisbee. "We might have to bring everybody down to Omaha again to play ultimate Frisbee before he swims," Anderson said with a laugh. "We wouldn't usually do that, but we wanted to keep it relaxed. It may have worked."