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Red Wing junior Tanner Alms is hugged by a teammate Thursday after breaking the Twin Bluff Middle School pool record in the 500-yard freestyle. Alms swam the race in 4 minutes, 45.71 seconds. Photo by Chris Harrell

Boys Swimming: Alms sets pool record in Wingers' victory

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Boys Swimming: Alms sets pool record in Wingers' victory
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

Tanner Alms waited all week to find out if he would get one more chance to swim the 500-yard freestyle at home.

Alms, the two-time defending Class 1A state champion in the 500 freestyle, was eyeing an 11-year old pool record. Red Wing head coach Kevin O'Brien told Alms he would be swimming the event Thursday in order to keep him hungry and it paid off as Alms shattered the record in 4 minutes, 45.71 seconds, nearly five seconds faster than the previous record.

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"He waits so we're ready to swim anything and we don't know what to expect," Alms, a junior, said. "This week in practice I pushed myself more than I have in a while. After the Winger Invite, I was hoping to be able to get another shot at it. ... To be able to be fast enough to get up on that (record) wall is a huge honor."

O'Brien said he noticed an improvement in Alms' technicality and strokes this week in practice. Alms was well within striking distance of the record going into Thursday night but he took the coaches' instruction to heart, O'Brien said.

"The place he's been lacking is dolphin kicks off the wall and a steady flutter kick during swimming," O'Brien said. "We've been mentioning that to him all week in practice ... and he did just that today. He had pretty good motivation in the last home meet of the season. He was so close at the Wingers Invite; I had to give him another go."

Alms also won the 50 freestyle in 22.45 seconds, which bested the state cut time.

On top of the pool record, the Wingers won the final home meet of the season against Northfield 95-83 while competing the final three events as an exhibition.

Red Wing senior Adam Sienczak won the 200 freestyle in 1:55.08 and the 100 butterfly in 58.86 seconds. Senior Ted Toegel finished first in the 100 freestyle in 54.73 seconds and senior Josh Berg took second in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle in 5:18.77. Berg said he was happy to be within seven seconds of the state cut time in the 500 freestyle with plenty of time left to taper.

"He's been fighting that 500 for a while," O'Brien said of Berg.

Ninth-grader Hunter Connelly took first place in the 200 individual medley and had the lowest time in the 100 backstroke, which was an exhibition race, for the Wingers.

Red Wing's Ethan Myers, a junior, finished second in the 200 freestyle, Dan O'Keefe was runner-up in the 50 freestyle and Nolan Schmidt took second in the 100 butterfly.

"Nolan had a great butterfly today," O'Brien said. "It's been getting closer and closer. He should taper really well."

With all the positive vibes after Thursday's Senior and Parent Night, and with Alms' record-breaking performance, the Wingers will begin tapering soon in preparation for the Missota Conference Championships and sections.

"This will be a great meet to go from," O'Brien said. "Coming off of these times with conference will be good."

Red Wing will face Simley Tuesday on the road in a dual meet before taking part in the Missota Conference Championships Feb. 9 at Shakopee West Junior High School.

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Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
(651) 301-7879
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