Boys Swimming: Wingers finish second at Section 1A meetThe first race didn’t go the way the Red Wing boys swimming and diving team had planned but the Wingers found plenty of success at the Section 1A finals Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
The first race didn’t go the way the Red Wing boys swimming and diving team had planned but the Wingers found plenty of success at the Section 1A finals Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights.
Red Wing qualified for state in eight individual races and two relays. The Wingers finished runners-up to St. Thomas Academy and Simley came in third place.
“I thought we did a great job as a team,” sophomore Tanner Alms said. “Tons of people dropped time.”
Red Wing head coach Gene Petersen said he hoped to put their 200-yard medley relay team through to state but barely missed the cut time. Despite falling short, Petersen said he'd send out the same relay team because they were capable of succeeding.
“I have the utmost confidence in every single one of these guys in the water,” Petersen said. “I would do the exact same things.”
But Red Wing rebounded quickly, qualifying three swimmers for state competition in the ensuing race. Alms, senior Connor O’Keefe and junior Adam Sienczak made the cut time in the 200 freestyle. Alms won the race in 1 minute, 46.93 seconds.
Senior Andrew Berg will participate in the 200 individual medley at state after coming in fifth place and under cut time at the section finals. Sienczak and O’Keefe also qualified in the 100 freestyle. Sienczak swam a season-best 49.84.
The Wingers’ 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams made state cuts and Petersen said he expects top times at state after all the swimmers are fully tapered.
“We just got to get them through to the state meet,” Petersen said. “We do still have guys with time to drop.”
In the 500 freestyle, Alms spent much of the race jockeying for first place with St. Thomas Academy’s Michael Berg but over the last two laps Alms pulled away. He took first place in 4:49.51 and dropped nine seconds off his preliminary time.
“I just stuck with it and gave it everything I had,” Alms said. “I felt really good through that whole race.”
Sophomore Ethan Myers also swam a great race in the 500 freestyle, spending much of the time in seventh place before making a big push in the last two laps to finish in third place. He qualified for state with a season-best time of 5:02.77.
Although eighth-grader Hunter Connelly missed the state cut time in the 100 backstroke, he swam the race in under one minute for the first time in his career. He finished in 59.32.
Red Wing continues to push swimmers through to state but finishing second in the section is no easy task. In 2009, the Wingers came in third in Section 1A and third in the Class A boys state swimming and diving tournament.
“Just because we qualify for state every year, doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Petersen said. “We’re swimming in the hardest section in the state.”
Class A boys state swimming prelims will take place Thursday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. Finals competition will be Saturday.