Girls Swimming: Red Wing's Thompson finishes 15th
MINNEAPOLIS -- The waiting was the hardest part for Red Wing junior swimmer Ashley Thompson.
Qualifying for the consolation finals at the Class 1A state swimming and diving meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, Thompson had to wait 10 events before getting her chance to compete in the 100-yard breaststroke. And in that time, it was difficult to stay patient between multiple practice swims and having to wait around.
"I think the nerves got to me a little bit," Thompson said.
When she finally hopped in the pool, Thompson finished seventh in her heat and 15th overall with a time of 1 minute, 11.20 seconds. Her consolation final time was .93 seconds slower than her qualifying time on Friday.
"Everything for her timed out well with her turns and her breakout strokes," said Wingers head coach Kevin O'Brien. "It just got longer for her in the second half and she got tired."
Winning the consolation race was Melrose's Sydney Rasmussen with a time of 1:07.19. In the championship race, Albert Lea freshman Lindsey Horejsi set a state record for the second straight day, winning the 100 breaststroke at 1:00.16.
Prior to Saturday's final, Thompson was able to loosen up and have a laugh, thanks to O'Brien. During the season, O'Brien vowed to dye his hair if any of Red Wing's swimmers made it to state. A man of his word, O'Brien sported a purple hairdo for his junior swimmer.
"It made me smile," a grinning Thompson said. "It helped a little bit."
Getting back to state as an individual for the first time since eighth grade, Thompson and her coach had their goals in mind to return next year.
"Hopefully, we can get her down to that 1:10 or 1:09 time halfway through the season next year," O'Brien said. "Now she knows where she's at, we can try to get her to state again."
"I'm looking forward (to next year) already," Thompson said.