Gallery: Tigers win 4 events, take 3rd as a team at state
MINNEAPOLIS — The highest point on the medal stand was a frequent hangout for the Albert Lea girls swimming team.
The Tigers won titles in four of 12 events and took third place as a team Friday in the Class A state finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
“Those kids worked their butts off,” said Albert Lea coach Jon Schmitz. “They deserved to be up there.”
After being the first girls’ swimmer from Minnesota to break 1 minute in the 100-yard breaststroke on Thursday in prelims, Albert Lea’s Lindsey Horejsi shaved 0.07 seconds from her time to set the record again in the finals with a time of 59.56.
She was busy before that as well. It was Horejsi’s third title, third Class A state record, second all-class state record and fourth All-American time of the afternoon.
“With the relays and the I.M. before the breaststroke, the adrenaline really catches up with you, so I wasn’t sure I was going to do it or not,” Horejsi said. “I just went out there and had fun, and it ended up being faster than yesterday, so I’m ecstatic.”
In addition to breaking the 1-minute barrier in the 100 breaststroke, Horejsi shattered the 2-minute barrier in the 200 individual medley and was the first prep girls’ swimmer from the state to do so.
She completed the race in 1:59.77, which was 1.61 seconds faster than the all-class state record set in 2010 by Champlin Park’s Abby Duncan.
“Overall, it was a great meet,” said Albert Lea’s Anna Andersen, who won state titles in the 50 freestyle and 200 medley relay. “Lindsey had her two records again, and (being a) state champ really hasn’t hit me yet. I’m just pumped right now.”
Along with her pair of titles, Andersen took second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.45 seconds.
The Tigers began the meet by winning the 200 medley relay with Bailey Sandon, Ahnika Jensen, Andersen and Horejsi. The group posted a time of 1:44.73, which was a Class A state record with an All-American time.
“I really wanted to win the medley relay, and we did it,” Sandon said.
The only event Horejsi swam that didn’t take first place was the 200 freestyle relay. The team of Andersen, Jensen, Simon and Horejsi posted a time that was faster than the previous Class A state record, but Visitation also broke the record and edged the Tigers by 0.46 seconds to take first place. Both teams had All-American times.
Sandon qualified for finals in three other events. Aside from the 400 freestyle relay, she snuck into the finals in the 100 backstroke and the 200 individual medley by earning the last qualifying slot in both events during prelims.
In the 100 backstroke finals, she posted a time of 1:02.15 to beat her prelim time by 0.22 seconds and pass Mahtomedi’s Anna Lundsten and Litchfield’s Sydney Weires.
“I was happy just making it to finals, and moving up from 16th to 14th made it a lot better,” Sandon said.
Albert Lea finished with 172 points to take bronze as a team, which was a target set by Schmitz at the beginning of the season.
“We had a lot of goals, and there you go,” he said. “That was the idea.”
Visitation won the meet with 309.5 points, Sartell St. Stephen was the runner-up with 180 points, and The Breck School was fourth with 151 points.
Schmitz, the Section 1A Coach of the Year, was assisted by Joey Clapp, the Section 1A Assistant Coach of the Year, and Erik Johnson.
“Joey and Erik could be head coaches anywhere,” Schmitz said. “They’re geniuses in the sport. We were all thinking alike, and it was a great team effort from the coaches as well.”
Schmitz wanted to thank the parents and the community and said the vibe around the program was positive.
“It was a great experience — the whole thing,” he said. “This has been a phenomenal season. I’m really proud of the girls.”
Albert Lea at Class A state meet
1. Visitation 309.5
2. Sartell St. Stephen 180
3. Albert Lea 172
4. Breck 151
5. Mankato West 142
200-yard medley relay: Bailey Sandon, Lindsey Horejsi, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen (first, 1:44.73)*#^
200-yard individual medley: Lindsey Horejsi (first, 1:59.77)*#!^; Bailey Sandon (16th, 2:17.05)
50-yard freestyle: Anna Andersen (first, 23.65)*+; Ahnika Jensen (10th, 24.71)
100-yard freestyle: Anna Andersen (second, 51.45)+; Haley Simon (21st, 56.47)
200-yard freestyle relay: Anna Andersen, Ahnika Jensen, Haley Simon and Lindsey Horejsi (second, 1:35.98)^
100-yard backstroke: Bailey Sandon (14th, 1:02.15)
100-yard breaststroke: Lindsey Horejsi (first, 59.56)*#!^; Samantha Nielsen (21st, 1:11.12)
400-yard freestyle relay: Haley Simon, Ahnika Jensen, Emily Taylor and Bailey Sandon (12th, 3:44.29)
# Class A record
! Minnesota all-time record (all classes)
^ All-American status
+ All-American consideration