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Boys Swimming: Red Wing wins dual meet at home

Red Wing's Tanner Alms competes in the 100-yard butterfly Thursday at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing. Alms won the event. Photo by Chris Harrell1 / 2
Red Wing senior Josh Berg swims the breaststroke during the 200-yard individual medley Thursday against Faribault in Red Wing. The Wingers won the meet 99-87. Photo by Chris Harrell2 / 2

The first event for Red Wing provided an ominous start to the Wingers' dual meet with Faribault Thursday in Red Wing.

Red Wing's top team was disqualified for leaving early on an exchange despite finishing with a first-place time of 1 minute, 48.45 seconds. Instead, the Wingers' second unit took top honors in 1:57.33 and the Falcons placed second and third. It was an early mistake but Red Wing recovered quickly in route to a 99-87 victory.

"It's frustrating to start that way," Red Wing head coach Kevin O'Brien said. "Luckily, we still got first place with our 'B' relay but it would have been nice to get 12 points there."

The Wingers got some big performances from their best swimmers as Tanner Alms won the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 backstroke, and Adam Sienczak took first in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Alms top stroke is the freestyle, winning back-to-back state titles in the 500 freestyle, but he was happy to help the team while swimming the other strokes. He made state cut times in both individual events.

"I love it," Alms said of swimming off stroke. "It's fun to mix it up a bit and get a different experience."

Red Wing took four days off from practice for the holiday break and O'Brien said he was nervous to see how the team would respond.

"That is so hard," he said. "You lose four days out of conditioning. You could really see it in their legs that it wasn't there."

But the Wingers pushed through and held off Faribault.

"'Competition brings out the best in us,'" Alms said while quoting former Red Wing head coach Gene Peterson. "And it's still true even if (Peterson)'s not here. We're always going to do better when we're pushed."

The Falcons took first and second in the 1-meter diving competition and Chris Byrne was third for Red Wing. The diving points helped the Falcons take a lead over the Wingers and made the meet closer than O'Brien expected.

"The diving hurt (us) and also the 'DQ'," O'Brien said. "They're a young team; they didn't lose many swimmers from last year."

Alms won the next event, the 100 butterfly, in 55.56 seconds and Sienczak padded the lead for Red Wing with his performance in the 100 freestyle, winning in 50.33 seconds.

"That was huge," O'Brien said. "The 100 free was key especially after they picked up a major diver. We weren't expecting that."

Dan O'Keefe won the 100 breaststroke for the Wingers and Ben Schaffer took second in 1:15.32, shaving .67 seconds off his best time.

"Ben Schaffer is having good swims," O'Brien said. "He's still dropping time even after the break."

Ted Toegel finished second in the 50 freestyle in 24.61 seconds for Red Wing and Ryan Schnaith was third in 26.03. Josh Berg was third in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle. Ethan Myers placed second in the 500 freestyle.

The Wingers' next meet is Jan. 10 at Farmington.

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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