Gallery: Albert Lea girls take down Austin in opener

Published 9:53 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lindsey Horejsi of Albert Lea swims the 100-yard breaststroke Tuesday against Austin in the Tigers' home opener. Albert Lea won 95-80. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Lindsey Horejsi of Albert Lea swims the 100-yard breaststroke Tuesday against Austin in the Tigers’ home opener. Albert Lea won 95-80. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Behind strong performances from all five swimmers who placed at the Class A state meet last year, the Albert Lea girls’ swimming team began the season by dismantling Austin at home.

Albert Lea won 11 of 12 events, and Lindsey Horejsi set a pair of pool records Tuesday in a 95-80 win against the Packers.

“I sort-of picked up where I left off last year, and a lot of the younger girls shined today,” said Horejsi. “That’s awesome to see them coming up and having fun with it.”

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Horejsi is the defending state champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke, which were the same events she set pool records in.

In the 200-yard individual medley, Horejsi set the record with a time of 2 minutes, 8.60 seconds. Despite beating the rest of the field by over 20 seconds, the time was 6.05 seconds slower than the mark she posted at state last season.

Horejsi set the second record with a time of 1:03.80 in the 100-yard breaststroke. At the Junior National Swimming Meet in Greensboro, N.C., on Dec. 13, 2013, Horejsi posted a time of 59.75 to break a national record that stood for 13 years before it was broken by another swimmer six hours later. Against Austin, she beat the rest of the field by over 10 seconds.

Last season, Albert Lea qualified for the state meet in all three relays and two placed. The 400-yard freestyle relay finished 19th, and Albert Lea coach Jon Schmitz said the team is aiming to climb a few spots.

“Our relays were very impressive,” he said. “Our big goal is to get the 400 freestyle relay to be All-State. We brought them to state last year, but we didn’t place. We want to get in the top eight, and we saw we can tonight with our young kids stepping up.”

The emergence of freshman Bryn Williams and eighth-grader Emily Taylor has been a welcome sight, Schmitz said.

“We’re really confident in what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re bringing it right now, and we see so much potential in those two.”

Williams and Taylor teamed up with Haley Simon and Anna Andersen to win the event in 3:53.93.

Andersen, a junior, placed at state in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races last season. Against Austin, she won the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

“I was really happy how the season started out,” said Andersen. “For a first meet, you’re not really expecting much, but it was great.”

Schmitz along with volunteer assistant coach Erik Johnson welcomed Joey Clapp for his first meet as part of the Tigers’ staff. He already knew some of Albert Lea’s players after coaching them on the Atlantis Swimming Federation club team.

The 15-point win doesn’t tell the entire story. The only event the Tigers didn’t win was diving. Albert Lea took a 95-42 lead after the 200-yard freestyle relay — the ninth event — and after that every point was awarded to the Packers by rule.

Next, Albert Lea will host Faribault at 6 p.m. Sept. 4.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Aug. 26 post.