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Tigers swim past Cougars

Albert Lea's Ahnika Jensen swims the freestyle portion of the 200-yard individual medley Thursday on Senior Night against Mankato East at Albert Lea. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea’s Ahnika Jensen swims the freestyle portion of the 200-yard individual medley Thursday on Senior Night against Mankato East at Albert Lea. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

The final home meet was bitter-sweet for eight seniors on the Albert Lea girls’ swimming team.

Seniors Lindsey Horejsi and Anna Andersen swept all four of their races, and the Tigers won 11 of 12 events Thursday during a 90-82 win over Mankato East on Senior Night at Albert Lea.

“This is the pool I grew up with,” Horejsi said. “It’s a sad day, but there’s more swimming to come, so I’m excited for that.”

Horejsi’s time of 2:08.06 in the 200-yard individual medley was a pool record, according to Tigers coach Jon Schmitz. She also won the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.21 and was part of the 400 freestyle and 200 medley first-place relay teams.

Along with swimming legs of the 400 freestyle and 200 freestyle relays, Andersen won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:58.78 and the 100 freestyle in 54.90 seconds.

Ahnika Jensen swam relays with Horejsi and Andersen and also took first place in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:04.03.

Bailey Sandon took first place with Horejsi, Jensen and Hannah Schwemmler in the 200 medley relay in 1:55.55 and with Andersen, Schwemmler and Haley Simon in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:48.12.

Horejsi, Andersen, Sandon and Jensen were all state champions last season in an individual event, on a relay team or both.

“They’ve been a big part of this program” Schmitz said.

In six events, Albert Lea claimed first and second place, and the Tigers swept first through third in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.

Schwemmler transferred to Albert Lea last season, Schmitz said. In addition to swimming on two first-place relay teams, she won the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:05.49. She edged Mankato East’s Eaden Javens by 0.32 seconds.

“Hannah swam the best times of her life tonight,” Schmitz said. “We’ll take those all day long.”

Samantha Nielsen and Sara Rasmussen also swam their last meet at Albert Lea’s pool. Nielsen finished second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:14.52, and Rasmussen was runner-up in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:52.74.

The final score doesn’t reflect the annihilation of the Cougars. After taking a 90-47 lead after nine events, the rest of the points were given to Mankato East, even though Albert Lea won them.

Freshman Emily Taylor took first place in two events: the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.99 seconds and the 400 freestyle relay.

The Tigers have two more regular-season duals remaining before the Big Nine Conference and Section 1A meets.

“We’ve really been picking up the intensity,” Schmitz said. “We’re in our training phase right now. Everything is for the Big Nine championship.”

Next, Albert Lea will compete at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mankato West.

“In all reality, we’re only halfway through the season,” Schmitz said. “We still have the championship season to go.”