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Swimming: Wingers send 3 individuals to state finals

Red Wing senior Adam Sienczak swims the final leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay at the Class 1A boys state swimming preliminary meet at the University of Minnesota's Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. Photo by Chad Richardson/RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Red Wing's Tanner Alms competes in the 200-yard freestyle during the Class 1A boys state swimming preliminary meet Friday. Alms tied for the fastest time in the race and took first in the 500 freestyle by more than seven seconds. Photo by Chad Richardson/RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Red Wing will send three individuals to the Class 1A boys state swimming and diving finals.

Tanner Alms, Ethan Myers and Hunter Connelly all qualified with top eight times in their respective races during Friday's preliminary meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Red Wing's two relay teams at state will not compete in the finals. The 200-yard medley relay team will be an alternate Saturday after taking 17th, and the 400 freestyle relay was disqualified because officials said the names were in the wrong order for the race, Wingers' head coach Kevin O'Brien said. The 400 freestyle relay would have finished 10th.

"They would not have been in the medal round," O'Brien said. "Something similar happened in the Class 2A girls state swimming meet in the fall. It's not uncommon -- but still feel pretty bad about it."

Alms, the two-time defending state champion in the 500 freestyle, showed why he is the man to beat, swimming the 500 in 4 minutes, 40.14 seconds. Michael Berg, of St. Thomas Academy, placed a distant second in 4:47.59. In the 200 freestyle, Alms tied with Monticello's Paul Fair for first in 1:43.07. Fair holds the Class 1A state record of 1:40.75 in the 200 freestyle.

"He's feeling really good," O'Brien said of Alms. "He was pushing (the 200) a bit more, but I think he was surprised by the time with the effort he was putting forward. The fact he'll have someone right next to him seeded the same time will really motivate him."

Myers barely missed out on finals competition in the 500 freestyle at last year's state meet but easily advanced with a fifth-place finish in a person-record time of 4:57.11.

"He kept up a great kick during his 500," O'Brien said. "He still had some left in the tank. It'll be really fun to watch Tanner swim and to see Ethan swim and see what they pull out."

In the 100 backstroke, Connelly moved on to today's competition after taking seventh in 55.36 seconds.

"He had a great turnover throughout his race," O'Brien said. "His start was shallower, which we've been working on, but he didn't quite have the same power and he did miss one turn. But he still dropped time."

The Class 1A boys state swimming and diving finals begin at noon today.