Swimmers perform well at state

Published 9:41pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

See a gallery here.

MINNEAPOLIS – One state champion, one All-American award, two All-American considerations, two second-place finishes, six All-state winners, one third-place finish, one eighth-place finish and an overall seventh-place finish was the collection of titles and awards the Albert Lea swimming and diving team took home Saturday after the Minnesota State High School League Class A state tournament finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

“This is the best meet we’ve ever had,” Tigers’ head coach Jon Schmitz said. “They are a very talented group of girls and I’m proud of how they handled themselves up here.”

Schmitz said while at the meet, the team tried to keep things as close to their high school routine as they could.

“We just do our cheers, go through our rituals and have fun because we’re a high school team,” Schmitz said. “Sometimes you forget that.”

The finals kicked off Saturday with the 200-yard medley relay.

Albert Lea freshmen swimmers Bailey Sandon, Lindsey Horejsi, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen gave the Tigers their first podium finish of the day – second-place with a time of 1 minute, 48.63 seconds behind a team from Visitation who finished in 1:48.10.

“Before the medley relay we had some girls who were really really nervous,” Schmitz said. “But boy, we almost pulled that off too.”

The Tigers’ time in the relay was an All-American consideration time, just like they wanted.

Andersen had the third fastest split of all 32 relay participants with a time of 24.61 seconds.

“We told Anna, you’re faster. We’ll probably be behind, but you’ll be faster than the girl on the end of that relay,” Schmitz said comparing Albert Lea to Visitation. “She really closed that gap.”

Sandon had a split of 29.34 seconds, Horejsi had a split of 27.27 seconds and Jensen had a split of 27.41 seconds.

The second relay the Tigers swam in was the 200-yard freestyle and it was changed up from Friday’s preliminaries.

Sandon swam the final split to give Horejsi a rest before the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Tigers finished eighth with a time of 1:44.78.

Andersen swam a split of 25.95, Simon swam a split of 26.54, Jensen swam a split of 26.21 and Sandon swam a 26.08.

The first-place finisher was Northfield with a time of 1:37.06.

In the diving event, Tiger senior Karli Kriewall finished second with a score of 360.00. It was an improvement from her previous third- and fifth-place state finishes. Bailey DuPay of Northfield was the repeat champion with a score of 394.25.

Schmitz said he was proud of Kriewall for her leadership throughout the season and also at the tournament.

“I’m going to miss her so much next year,” said Kriewall’s diving coach Jill Johnson.

The other two events the Tigers had a podium finish in were Horejsi’s individual races.

In the 50-yard freestyle, what Schmitz called “Lindsey’s fun race” on Friday, Horejsi finished third in with a time of 23.55 seconds, an All-American consideration time. Mankato West’s Danielle Nack was the repeat champion with a time of 22.82 seconds. Nack’s time beat the record she set last year of 22.93 seconds and awarded her All-American.

What may have been the biggest race of the meet, the 100-yard breaststroke, was won by Horejsi with a record time of 1:00.16. Horejsi’s time reset the Minnesota All-time record, the Minnesota Class A record and beat the All-American time of 1:03.94. For her performance Horejsi received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Schmitz said he expected going into the season his team would have the finish that they did.

“We had a great meet last year and we lost two good seniors, but we knew these kids had the talent,” he said. “They all swam their best splits in the end, on the last day, when they’re supposed to. That shows they’re all competitive kids.”

As a team, the Tigers finished seventh out of 41 teams in Minnesota with a score of 103.50. Northfield was named state champion with a score of 223.

Check back for a gallery from the finals.