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Girls Swimming: Wingers win dual meet at home

Red Wing's Ashley Thompson swims the backstroke during the 200-yard individual medley Tuesday at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing. Thompson won the race, and the 100 breaststroke, as the Wingers defeated River Falls. Photo by Chris Harrell1 / 2
Red Wing ninth-grader Ingrid Olson competes against River Falls Tuesday in Red Wing. Olson won the 100-yard backstroke and the 50 freestyle. Photo by Chris Harrell2 / 2

A quick start jumpstarted Red Wing to victory Tuesday in a dual meet with River Falls at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing.

The Wingers took first and second place in the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, and won 100-86.

"We knew going into this it would be a tough race," Red Wing head coach Kevin O'Brien said. "River Falls is much deeper this year. This year, we swam about the best meet we could."

Red Wing finished first in 9 of 12 events.

Senior Amy Nemanich won the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle for Wingers, in 2 minutes, 10.35 seconds and 5:47.86, respectively. In the 500 free, Nemanich paced herself before creating a full-length lead and winning the race by almost 10 seconds.

"We've been specifically training her for the 500," O'Brien said. "Las year, we mixed it in. That's her race. It takes a special mentality to swim long distance. It's mentally challenging."

Red Wing junior Ashley Thompson kept her winning ways going as well, taking first in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. She trailed after the first two legs of the 200 IM but pulled away during the breaststroke, her strongest event. O'Brien said Thompson's work ethic allows her to get better despite facing lesser competition in dual meets.

"It's tough when you're generally faster," he said. "It's really working hard in practice, which she does. She pushes herself in practice without me having to get after her. That's what it takes."

The Wingers also got two wins from ninth-grader Ingrid Olson. Olson won the 50 freestyle in 26.79 seconds and 100 backstroke in 1:09.89. O'Brien said it is hard for young short-distance swimmers to consistently put in low times each race because of learning and hard workouts. The tough practices impact sprinters more, he said, but Olson continues to showcase her talent.

"She's still very young, still working on technique," O'Brien said. "If you work hard in practice you're not going to swim as well in meets. It's getting her mentally strong to deal with not doing as well."

Red Wing Senior Jess Kolsky won the diving competition with 185 points and eight-grader Allison Byrne took second in her first year with the program.

"I'm really excited to see what she's going to do," O'Brien said of Byrne.

Another eighth-grader, Claire King, won the 100 freestyle in 59.20 seconds for the Wingers. Red Wing took second in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

The Wingers compete again Thursday at Northfield.

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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