Boys Swimming: Red Wing places third at home invite
Red Wing had its sights set on Austin all day Saturday.
Hosting the four-team Winger Invitational at Twin Bluff Middle School, the Wingers were hoping to beat the Packers, a future Big Nine Conference foe and last year’s invitational winner.
“After Thursday (against Farmington), they had a lot of motivation to take the title away from Austin,” said Red Wing head coach Kevin O’Brien.
The Wingers got off to a hot start, winning the 200-yard medley relay and the 200 freestyle, but the Packers’ lineup proved to be too deep as they took home the Winger Invite title with 671 points.
“They had too many horses for the end of the meet,” O’Brien said of Austin.
Mankato West took second with 624, followed by Red Wing (590) and Bloomington Kennedy (390).
Red Wing opened the meet with 30 points, thanks to third- and fifth-place finishes in the 1-meter dive by Chris Byrne and Brady Sievers. Byrne scored 285.45 points, and Sievers had 202.80.
Then when the swimming events started, the Wingers won the first two events. The 200 medley team of Hunter Connelly, Ben Schaffer, Nolan Schmidt and Dan O’Keefe finished first with a time of 1 minute, 46 seconds, beating Mankato West’s top relay team by .58 seconds.
Then, Tanner Alms set a pool record with a time of 1:45.40 to win the 200 freestyle. Alms also won the 500 freestyle title with a time of 4:49.82, beating Austin’s Sawyer Myers second-place time of 5:17.11.
“We started off really, really well,” O’Brien said. “The first half of the meet, we’re very strong in. It’s just that second half that we’re lagging a little bit. The boys held their own and did everything they could.”
Following Alms’ win the 500, Red Wing’s chances to finish in the top two took a huge hit when the 200 freestyle relay was disqualified after a false start.
“The DQ was legit. We were rolling off the start, so that was unfortunate,” O’Brien said. “That cost us a lot of points, but it happens. You move on and it’s a good learning experience now so they can be safe the rest of the season.”
Connelly lifted the Wingers back up after the disqualification by winning the 100 backstroke (54.51). Then to close out the meet, Schaffer took second in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.63), and the 400 freestyle relay team of Garrett Welsch, Calvin Roth, Connelly and Alms placed second at 3:29.44.
“The meet went really well for us,” O’Brien said. “The boys swam some good times. Not quite as many PRs (personal records) as we had on Thursday, but that’s OK. It was a bit more of a competitive meet all around.”