Red Wing swimmers prepare for stateRed Wing senior Abbey Schnaith possesses all the experience the Wingers’ swimming and diving team needs.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing senior Abbey Schnaith possesses all the experience the Wingers’ swimming and diving team needs.
Schnaith, a state participant since seventh grade, will be asked to share that experience with the rest of the 200-yard medley relay team going into Class A state competition Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Sophomore Ashley Thompson, sophomore Hannah Walch and eighth grader Ingrid Olson are the other three members of the relay team. Thompson is the only other swimmer with previous state experience. Schnaith will also swim individually in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke at state.
“I keep reminding them to work hard because it will pay off,” Schnaith said of her role as leader. “I tell them to shoot for your goals. You can reach them.”
Entrance in state was a goal for all of the relay members but to finish in 1 minute, 54.55 seconds and beat the cut time by almost a second was better than expected, Schnaith said. In addition to the relay team’s excitement, Red Wing head swimming coach Kevin O’Brien said he is eager to see the underclassmen in a pressure filled environment.
“They were excited just to make state,” O’Brien said. “It will be nice being there. They’ll get the experience and know what state’s all about.”
Walch said she is nervous for state but the biggest meets often bring out her best.
“Whenever I get nervous, I try to channel it into my swimming,” Walch said. “I tend to do better.”
With three underclassmen, the relay group has simple goals for Friday. Schnaith said they want to drop time and inspire younger swimmers. They also want to make the top 16 in the prelims in order to compete in the finals Saturday.
“I don’t think we can go in with expectations,” Schnaith said. “We need to go in honored to be there.”
On the individual side, O’Brien said Schnaith has a realistic possibility of placing in the top three at state but her goals are less about winning and more about the process.
“She’s trying to have the best state meet of her high school career,” O’Brien said. “She has a very mature outlook on it.”
In the final meet of her illustrious career, Schnaith said she wants to enjoy the moment and keep a positive mentality regardless of where she places.
“It’s just going to be keeping everything in perspective,” Schnaith said of her final race for the Wingers. “Knowing I’ve made some great friends over the years and have fun.”
Preliminary competition begins at noon and the top 16 finishers will participate in the finals Saturday at noon.