Albert Lea's Hannah Hertling swims in the 100-yard butterfly Tuesday night against Winona. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
Albert Lea's Hannah Hertling swims in the 100-yard butterfly Tuesday night against Winona. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

Tigers down Winona/Cotter at home

Published 9:30pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Tigers girls’ swimming and diving team closed out its regular season — aside from the Big Nine Conference meet — in impressive fashion on Tuesday, and then sent its coaching staff for a swim.

Albert Lea used late-meet dominance to defeat Winona/Cotter 97.50-88.50 at home.

Albert Lea’s Samantha Nielsen swims in the 200-yard individual medley Tuesday night against Winona. — Drew ClaussenAlbert Lea Tribune
Albert Lea’s Samantha Nielsen swims in the 200-yard individual medley Tuesday night against Winona. — Drew ClaussenAlbert Lea Tribune

“We had some great swims out of some really young kids,” head coach Schmitz said.

It was Senior Night and family night for the team, and after the racing was over — as it has become a tradition of sorts — the team forced their coaches into the water.

“It was fun, I haven’t swam for a long time,” Schmitz said. “It’s a little bit of a tradition, we kind of laughed that they didn’t throw us in right away.

We must have them trained pretty well,” he added with a laugh. “They’re afraid of us.”

The Tigers were dominant during the beginning and the end of Tuesday’s meet.

Albert Lea jumped out the early lead by taking first place in the 200-yard medley relay. Anna Andersen followed by taking home the 200-yard freestyle. Lindsey Horejsi won the 200-yard individual medley and picked up another pool record in the process. After three events, the Tigers led 32-14.

The two teams traded victories, and Winona ended up taking a slim lead with two events remaining.

“We had the lineup a little mixed up,” Schmitz said. “It got a little uncomfortable, but Winona swam really well.

“It was a good meet, and we were stacked at the end,” he added. “We were pretty comfortable.”

Samantha Nielsen and Hannah Hertling finished first and second in the 100-yard breaststroke, and gave Albert Lea a 89.50-82.50 lead heading into the final event.

“Hertling swam more than a second better than her best time,” Schmitz said. “That’s a huge swim for her, and it was a good time to have it. We needed that one.”

With Winona in striking distance, the Tigers needed a strong performance from their 400-yard freestyle relay team. They set a team record of 3:45.78 from the team that consisted of Andersen, Bailey Sandon, Ahnika Jensen and Horejsi.

“The relays were great,” Schmitz said. “We topped the meet off with a school record, so that was really fun.”

The Tigers will be in action at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Minnesota True Team State Meet, which will be held at the University of Minnesota’s University Aquatic Center. Schmitz said he would probably rest the girls a little before Saturday, because they had a really tough practice on Monday.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Oct. 15 post.