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Girls Swimming: Wingers go down to the wire with Austin

Red Wing's Sammy Kriese took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 16.14 seconds during Tuesday's Big Nine Conference dual meet with Austin at Twin Bluff Middle School. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 3
Red Wing's Annabelle Scafe finished the 100-yard backstroke in 1 minute, 13.99 seconds, good for fourth place during Tuesday's Big Nine Conference dual against Austin at Twin Bluff Middle School. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 3
Red Wing's LeEtta McDowell was fourth in the 100-yard butterfly on Tuesday in 1 minute, 10.75 seconds. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)3 / 3

It went down to the wire for the Red Wing and Austin girls' swimming and diving teams. After diving, the Wingers scored 58 of their 92 team points, thanks in large part to strong performances in the 100-yard backstroke and 100 breaststroke.

By the time the final event wrapped up, Austin was able to sneak out of Twin Bluff Middle School with the slimmest of victories, beating Red Wing 93-92.

After a brief laugh about the margin of victory, Wingers head coach Kevin O'Brien said, “We just kept chipping away after the diving. That was rough … it just wasn't enough to make up that diving deficit.

“We knew it was going to be a close meet. We weren't quite anticipating it to be that close, but the girls swam really hard and they supported each other.”

Right off the bat, Red Wing got in a win in the 200 medley relay when Grace O'Brien, Sammy Kriese, Cecelia DeJong and Claire King combined for a first-place time of 2 minutes, 0.34 seconds.

The 200 individual medley also yielded big points for the Wingers with Kriese taking top honors at 2:26.99, followed by DeJong in second place at 2:29.61.

“The 200 IM was a big race with Sammy and (DeJong),” Kevin said. “Those were two big swims for us.”

Following diving, DeJong grabbed first place in the 100 butterfly in 1:04.67, followed by a 2-3 finish in the 100 freestyle by Teegan Beyers (1:00.79) and Polina Duchelle (1:01.85). Beyers beat her previous personal best by a second.

Starting with the 500 freestyle, Red Wing really started to cut the gap with the Packers with Grace O'Brien finishing in first in 5:52.10, followed by King's third-place time of 6:00.48.

“Grace hanging on in that 500, that was a very strong swim for her. It was a little ways from her PR (personal record), but that's expected. That's hard to drop in the middle of the season,” Kevin said. “Claire King in the 500, we needed someone to be right there (with Grace).”

The Wingers' roll continued with a win for Grace in the 100 backstroke (1:07.93). Makenna Doig was third in 1:11.95, which was .82 seconds behind Austin's top swimmer, and Annabelle Scafe placed fourth in 1:13.99.

The 100 breaststroke saw three Wingers place in the top four, with Kriese in first (1:16.14), LeEtta McDowell in third (1:21.70) and Kennedy Carlson fourth (1:26.36) while dropping 2.86 seconds from her personal best.

“Kennedy dropped nearly three seconds and got fourth place. That was huge,” Kevin said. “LeEtta was .4 from her personal best, which is a good swim for her.”

Kevin continued, “I'm really excited. We're seeing time drops here and there, and some of the new girls are really performing and showing us what they're going to do. We're really excited for True Team sections this weekend. We're doing a little taper for it to try and get a little past mid-season point for us. Then we're already getting close to mental toughness week and we're a month away from taper (for sections and state).”

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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