insight
Bailey Sandon glides under the water in the 100-yard backstroke Friday. Sandon finished with a time of 1 minute, 3.84 seconds. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

Tigers advance in 5 events at state

Published 9:07am Saturday, November 17, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — The Albert Lea swimming and diving team had a successful day Friday at the Minnesota State High School League state swimming and diving tournament preliminaries which took place at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

After competing in seven events, the Tigers advanced to the championship round Saturday in five of them.

The teams that qualified for the finals are right where Albert Lea’s coaches Jon Schmitz, Erik Johnson and Jill Johnson had expected them to be at.

The 200-yard medley relay made up of Bailey Sandon, Lindsey Horejsi, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen placed second with a time of 1 minute, 49.29 seconds. They are behind a team from Visitation who finished with a time of 1:48.86.

The Tigers’ time was .74 seconds less than their qualifying time.

“We’re so pumped about the medley,” Schmitz said. “We’ve got a school record in that and we’re excited to race for a title in it.”

Schmitz commended Sandon for a job well done in the medley.

“She had a really tough job leading that relay today,” Schmitz said. “She was very very nervous leading that relay off for her first swim at state.”

 Sandon swam a 29.50, Horejsi swam a 27.36, Jensen swam a 27.61 and Andersen swam a 24.82.

The second race Albert Lea competed in Friday was the 50-yard freestyle.

“The 50, that’s Lindsey’s fun race,” Schmitz said. “We wanted a race where she didn’t have a lot of pressure and could go out and just swim.”

Horejsi placed third in the race with a time of 23.74 seconds, five seconds slower than her qualifying time.

The defending champion in the 50-yard freestyle, Danielle Nack of Mankato West, also was slower in her preliminary time than her qualifying time. She was 14 seconds slower and was surprisingly took second place to Solveig Viren of Grand Rapids who had a seed time of 24.14 and a preliminary time of 23.59.

The second relay the Tigers competed in was the 200-yard freestyle. They swam fast enough to make it in the top eight cut qualifying them for a podium finish Saturday.

“We had some let downs here and there, but I told them we’ve got to be in the top eight because we have to have medals and be All-State,” Schmitz said. “They did that so that was great.”

The Tigers swam a total time of 1:40.94, cutting almost a second off of their seed time.

Andersen swam a 25.52, Haley Simon swam a 25.91, Jensen swam a 26.04 and Horejsi swam a 23.47.

The final race the Tigers’ qualified in was what Schmitz called “the race of the meet.”

Horejsi swam the 100-yard breaststroke in Minnesota state record time of 1:00.43. Her seed time was 1:03.31 and in the finals Saturday she planned to set a national record.

The final event the Tigers’ qualified in was done by their only senior, Karli Kriewall, when she placed second in the 1-meter diving Thursday. The only person she trails is defending state champion, Bailey Dupay of Northfield.

And, even though Sandon and Andersen didn’t advance to the state finals in the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle respectively, Schmitz and the rest of the coaching staff are still proud of their efforts.

Sandon swam a time of 1:03.84 to place 24th.

“Bailey’s backstroke is just fine,” Schmitz said. “She’s got the school record and swam a good race. Probably not her best time, but that’s OK.”

Andersen was just shy of advancing in the top 16 after placing 19th with a time of 55.05.

Schmitz said everyone knows Andersen has more in her to go faster and she was disappointed with her time.

“It was her first individual experience at state,” Erik Johnson said. “It was a learning experience and she’ll know what to expect next year.”

Schmitz said Andersen should be proud that she made it to the state tournament because even that is tough.

The state finals began Saturday at noon. Follow the Tigers online at AlbertLeaTribune.com, on Twitter @altribunesports and see Monday’s paper for coverage of the finals.

 Check back for a gallery from Friday.