Seniors make splash at state
Published 12:58 pm Friday, November 20, 2015
Albert Lea sets four records, takes 3rd place as team
MINNEAPOLIS — After making a splash on the national scene in prelims, the Albert Lea girls’ swimming team finished third as a team for the second consecutive season at state.
The Tigers set records in four events — the 100-yard breaststroke, 50 freestyle, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay — and amassed 194 points Friday in the Class A state finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
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“It has been so much fun for me, and a big responsibility because the kids are so talented,” said Albert Lea coach Jon Schmitz. “I think they reached their potential.”
For the second straight day, Lindsey Horejsi beat the previous 100 breastsroke national record of 58.75 seconds set in 2009 by Kasey Carlson of Las Lomas High School in California.
Horejsi’s prelim time was 58.56 seconds, and her finals time was 58.66.
“All I thought about was 58.75,” Horejsi said. “It was more nerve-wracking (in prelims) because I just wanted to get it off my shoulders. Today was more fun and relaxed.”
Horejsi and fellow seniors Bailey Sandon, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen were part of the state-champion 200 medley relay team that posted an All-American time of 1:43.61 and set a Class A state record, which broke the previous record of 1:44.73 the group set last year.
“We started the medley relay back when we were in Tiger Sharks when we were little, and I think we’ve grown so much,” Sandon said. “To be able to win state two years in a row is insane.”
Another Class A state record fell in the 50 freestyle at the hands of Horejsi. She swam an All-American time in 22.79 seconds to win the event and beat the previous record of 22.82 by Mankato West’s Danielle Nack in 2012.
In the final event of the meet, Albert Lea’s 400 freestyle relay team of Jensen, Emily Taylor, Haley Simon and Horejsi set a school record with a time of 3:36.48.
“That was awesome, and we did it without one of our fastest freestylers (Andersen) in that event,” Schmitz said.
Instead, the four events Andersen competed in were the 100 and 200 freestyle and the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays.
In the 100 freestyle, Andersen finished third with a time of 51.50 seconds. She also took fifth in the 200 freestyle in 1:55.26. The 200 freestyle was the meet’s second event, a race she swam directly after the 200 medley relay.
“Being in back-to-back events, that’s really hard, but Anna did a great job,” Schmitz said. “She went out and got points for our team.”
Andersen also took third in the 200 freestyle relay with Simon, Taylor and Jensen in 1:38.29.
Andersen said this year was her fifth trip to state.
“It’s definitely the goal (to qualify),” she said. “We look forward to the end of the season, and it was really good to come back and repeat (third place as a team). There are some really tough teams here.”
Visitation won the team title with 312 points, and Breck was runner-up with 238. Albert Lea held off fourth-place finisher Sartell-St. Stephen, a team that produced 160 points.
Mankato West edged Albert Lea for the Section 1A title, but Scarlets were held to 31 points to finish 19th at state.
In addition to competing in the 200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays, Jensen took fifth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.34, which was 0.07 seconds faster than her prelim time.
“Ahnika put together a great meet,” Schmitz said.
Samantha Nielsen finished 11th in the breaststroke with a time of 1:07.92.
“She’s the third-best breaststroker in the history of Albert Lea,” Schmitz said.
Horejsi and Andersen signed their national letters of intent Nov. 12 to compete at the collegiate level next year: Horejsi with Minnesota; Andersen with North Dakota.
Of the seven Albert Lea swimmers who qualified for the state finals, six were seniors: Horejsi, Andersen, Sandon, Jensen, Nielsen and Simon.
“A lot of us started swimming together in fifth and sixth grade, so we’re at the point where we’re looking at each other, and it’s like, ‘We’re done,’” Andersen said. “It’s bitter-sweet.”
Albert Lea at Class A state meet
1. Visitation 312
2. Breck 238
3. Albert Lea 194
4. Sartell-St. Stephen 160
5. Orono 124…
19. Mankato West 31…
27. Northfield 15
200-yard medley relay: Bailey Sandon, Lindsey Horejsi, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen (first, 1:43.61)*#^
200-yard freestyle: Anna Andersen (fifth, 1:55.26)
50-yard freestyle: Lindsey Horejsi (first, 22.79)*#^; Ahnika Jensen (fifth, 24.34)
100-yard freestyle: Anna Andersen (third, 51.50)
200-yard freestyle relay: Anna Andersen, Haley Simon, Emily Taylor and Ahnika Jensen (third, 1:38.29)
100-yard breaststroke: Lindsey Horejsi (first, 58.66)*#; Samantha Nielsen (11th, 1:07.92)
400-yard freestyle relay: Ahnika Jensen, Emily Taylor, Haley Simon and Lindsey Horejsi (third, 3:36.48)
^Minnesota Class A record