Wingers improve at section meetThe Red Wing girls swimming and diving team saw the results it waited all season for at the Section 1A swimming and diving meet Friday in Austin.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
AUSTIN - The Red Wing girls swimming and diving team saw the results it waited all season for at the Section 1A swimming and diving meet Friday in Austin.
Kevin O’Brien is the fifth head coach in four years for Red Wing and the technical changes he implemented at the beginning of the season came to fruition at the section meet.
“Attitudes were rough halfway through the season,” O’Brien said. “It was hard with them not knowing me at all.”
The girls stepped up at sections and put up some great times, he said. “They kept their strokes together and a lot of the girls were within five seconds of state cut time.”
Sophomore Ashley Thompson finished ninth in the 200-yard Individual Medley at 2 minutes, 23.79 seconds, shaving nearly three seconds off her preliminary time. Eighth-grader Hannah Kolsky dropped almost a second off her 500 freestyle time in the finals, sophomore Hannah Walch swam the 100 butterfly in 1:06.88, improving on her 1:09.06 in the prelims, and senior Abbey Schnaith made a close to two second improvement on her 100 backstroke time in the final while qualifying for state in both the backstroke and 100 freestyle.
The 200 Medley Relay also dropped almost three seconds in qualifying for state competition with a time of 1:54.55.
“Everyone was dropping time,” O’Brien said. “They had to perform. It wasn’t just going to happen.”
O’Brien said he was pleased with the improvement junior Sydney Steger had at the section meet. He said she was frustrated much of the year because she wasn’t seeing her times drop. Steger’s goal for sections was to finish in under 1:08 in the 100 backstroke and she succeeded with a time of 1:06.46.
“We had tons of best times,” Schnaith said. “I’m so proud of my teammates.”
Junior Amy Nemanich and eighth-grader Ingrid Olson also improved their times in the 500 freestyle and 50 freestyle, respectively.
Red Wing boasts two seniors and, while Melissa Goranowski and Schnaith, a perennial state competitor, will be graduating, O’Brien has reason to be optimistic about the future.
“We’ve got a strong sophomore class,” O’Brien said. “This was a year for improvement. A year to get strokes figured out. Next year will be really different attitude-wise. They know me now.”