Swimmers finish season strong at final day of state meet

Published 5:34 pm Saturday, November 18, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — On the final day of competition at the 2017 Minnesota state high school girls’ swim and dive meet, two Tigers were still in contention to make a splash in the consolation rounds of their respective races.

Freshman Jaeda Koziolek in the 100-yard backstroke and junior Emily Taylor in the 100-yard breaststroke were both eligible to finish as high as ninth place in the state.

Koziolek was the first to swim in her event. She earned her spot in the consolation final by finishing in 16th place in the prelims on Friday afternoon. Koziolek would take fifth place in the consolation race with a time of 1:00.14. She finished 13th overall; the first-place finisher was Gabi Baldwin of Hill-Murray with a time of 56.69.

Albert Lea freshman Jaeda Koziolek finished in fifth place of the consolation final, earning her a 13th overall finish in the 100-yard backstroke. Her final time was 1:00.14. – Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune

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Koziolek was grateful to have made it to the state meet after finishing her race.

“I feel like we could have done better, but to make it this far is a pretty big deal,” she said. “The state swim meet is so much different from our other meets. Just the environment, it’s so intense and it’s great.”

Taylor took her turn in the next race. She earned her way to the consolation race after finishing in 13th place during the prelim rounds. Taylor would also take fifth place in the consolation race earning her 13th place overall; her final time was 1:08.73. The first-place finisher was Jordyn Wentzel of Delano with a time of 1:03.74.

Taylor was also excited to have just made the final day and talked about what it was like for her to be a part of the competition.

“It was fun, it was just amazing to be here,” Taylor said. “You see all these amazing swimmers who are D-1 material, you just realize that this is next level stuff. I’m happy with it and next year will be even better for us.”

Both swimmers are still young and will be back next season with the mindset to get even better. Head coach David Voller talked about his excitement for the future of the program.

“I can’t wait (for next season), I’m not ready for the season to end,” Voller said. “There’s a lot to build on. We’ll get the girls doing more in the offseason, get them swimming over the summer and things like that. Right now they’re all on board, so that will go a long way into our success next year.”

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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