Swimming: Red Wing swimmers set for sectionsAfter Red Wing sent one individual and one relay team to the Class 1A state swimming and diving meet last year, the Wingers hope this season’s Section 1A tournament will be more fruitful.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
After Red Wing sent one individual and one relay team to the Class 1A state swimming and diving meet last year, the Wingers hope this season’s Section 1A tournament will be more fruitful.
Red Wing’s head coach Kevin O’Brien said he expects ninth-grader Ingrid Olson, senior Amy Nemanich, senior Sydney Steger, junior Ashley Thompson and senior diver Jess Kolsky to all make the section finals and possibly advance to state. O’Brien said that many other Wingers also have a chance to make section finals.
“Those girls should hopefully be in the top eight for finals,” O’Brien said. “Mentally, it’s about getting them prepared and getting them confident in the fact that they can get a state qualifying time.”
He said the team is taking well to tapering, dropping yardage from 6,000 a day to 2,750, and gaining more energy at the right time.
“The girls are getting really hyper, which is a good sign because that means taper is working,” O’Brien said. “Taper works on paper but it doesn’t work unless they’re mentally prepared and motivated that they can swim fast.”
Now that Red Wing’s gone through the physical test, O’Brien is taking the Wingers through mental exercises in preparation for Wednesday’s Section 1A swimming and diving preliminary meet in Austin.
“They’re starting to visualize the race,” O’Brien said. “It’s all mental from here on out. Now, starting to visualize the race and what they need to do and they have the ability to swim their best time and getting them to not do much.”
Wrangling in the girls’ activity also involves asking the girls to eat healthy, refrain from soft drinks and getting sleep, he said.
O’Brien led the girls through a scripted session of positive thinking Monday at the swimming pool in Twin Bluff Middle School. He said it helps the girls stay focused and throw any bad thoughts or bad attitudes away.
“Only focus on the positives and what they need to do to perform their best and to have fun, most of all,” he said. “We talk about feelings, sensations, thoughts of past experiences where they’ve swam really well and been really happy with their performance and get them to remember (that).”
Despite added pressure seniors might put on themselves to move on in their last season, O’Brien said the upperclassmen are calm because they’ve been through it before.
“I’m seeing more of the senior swimmers being fairly relaxed,” O’Brien said. “Younger girls are all giddy and jumping around and getting them to stay calm in practice (is the issue). Even if they have all the energy, to try and stay relaxed and save that energy.”
The Section 1A preliminary meet begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Austin. The top 16 swimmers in each event qualify for the finals Friday at 6 p.m.