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Girls Swimming: Red Wing makes short work of New Prague

Red Wing eighth-grader Claire King nears the finish of the 100-yard butterfly during Thursday's Missota Conference dual meet against New Prague at Twin Bluff Middle School. King won with a time of 1 minute, 10.02 seconds.

Wrapping up the team's home schedule Thursday, Red Wing girls swimming and diving head coach Kevin O'Brien wanted one more chance to shuffle his lineup before the Wingers hit one of their toughest stretches of the season.

On Senior Night and Parents Night, O'Brien wanted to get as many girls in the pool as he could. And in a 99-78 Missota Conference victory over New Prague, it also helped in seeing what holes he could plug up in the lineup as Red Wing approaches the tail end of the season.

"It's a nice way to end the season with one more dual meet," O'Brien said. "The girls are going in really excited. We had some fast swims, we dropped some time with our younger swimmers and some up-and-coming swimmers for next year."

Right away, the Wingers won the first four events, with the foursome of Ingrid Olson, Ashley Thompson, Claire King and Carly Boisen taking first place in the 200-yard medley relay in 2 minutes, 03.61 seconds.

Amy Nemanich followed with a victory in the 200 freestyle at 2:10.74, and Thompson had a first-place time of 2:27.01 in the 200 individual medley. Olson clinched her second win of the night, taking the 50 freestyle in 26.16.

"Because it was Senior Night and Parents Night, I wanted the girls to swim their best races," O'Brien said.

King got an individual victory in the 100 butterfly, with a time of 1:10.02, and, along with Hannah Kolsky, Paulina Duchelle and Nina Kriese, won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:54.23.

Kolsky was part of O'Brien's lineup shuffling, competing in the 100 freestyle for the first time against the Trojans Thursday.

"Last year and this year, Hannah trained specifically for the 500 and 200," O'Brien said, "but after watching her stroke change throughout this season, we wanted to switch her into more of the sprint races."

Kolsky's switch paid off as she took first in the 100 with a time of 1:00.85.

"(Assistant coach) Jess (Hagfors) and I had been talking about it for some time, and Hannah came up in practice and said, 'I think I'm switching to more sprinting than distance,'" O'Brien said. "We were totally fine switching her and seeing what else she can do."

In total, the Wingers won 11 of the 12 events against New Prague.

Along with Nemanich, the Wingers' seniors made an impact in their final home meet. Sydney Steger won the 100 backstroke, and Jess Kolsky and Abby Riegelman took second in the 1-meter dive and the 100 backstroke, respectively. Jordyn Dieman, along with Steger, Riegelman and Nemanich, took second in the 400 freestyle relay.

Red Wing returns to the pool today for the Simley Invitational in Inver Grove Heights before wrapping up the Missota dual schedule Tuesday against sixth-ranked (2A) Chanhassen.

While the win over the Trojans was a nice boost for his team, O'Brien knows things will get a whole lot tougher once the Wingers are swimming with the Storm.

"It's a nice way to go into our last dual meet with a win like this, but the hard part is we're going against Chanhassen, one of the powerhouses in the conference, so it's a tough switch," O'Brien said.

"Our top swimmers are definitely going to get good races, but it'll be tough for our other swimmers to get good races. So hopefully, they can really go into it excited and get some good swims out of them."

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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