Raiders achieve relay-related goalThis summer, when swimming coach Katie McAlpin and the Hastings girls swimming team set goals for the fall season, relays were a big focus.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
This summer, when swimming coach Katie McAlpin and the Hastings girls swimming team set goals for the fall season, relays were a big focus.
Namely, Hastings wanted to qualify all three of its relays for the state meet, and then the Raiders wanted to advance those relays into the second day of the state tournament to swim at finals.
On Friday, the relays teams did just that, earning trips to come back and swim at Saturday’s state meet finals.
“We accomplished what we wanted to,” McAlpin said. “We wanted to get three relays there, and get three relays back to finals. Our ultimate goal from the beginning of the season was accomplished.”
Hastings placed 14th in the team portion of the meet with 63 points.
Edina won the meet handily with 316 points. Minnetonka was second and Stillwater was third.
Not everything went right for the Raiders, as some times Friday were slower than the coaches had hoped for.
“We had a really tough day on Friday,” McAlpin said. “It was a good meet, but it wasn’t as good as sections. It’s hard to have the meet of your season at sections, then turn around and have another meet of the season at state.
“The girls came back Saturday with great, positive attitudes. They were ready to go and ready to just enjoy the meet. I think, on Friday, they were a little overwhelmed. For a bunch of them, it was their first time swimming at the state meet.
“There a lot to take in. You get in to that aquatic center, and you have hundreds of people above you watching. There’s so much energy. It’s just a completely different experience.”
The 200 medley relay team of Brina Kari, Alyssa Spitzack, Allissa Smith and Mariah Wallace placed 12th in 1:51.09.
In the 50 freestyle, HHS junior Kate Reilly placed fourth with a time of 23.92. In the prelims she had a time of 23.82.
Kaia Grobe won the race with a time of 23.15. She swims for Chanhassen.
Reilly took eighth in the 100 freestyle. She had a time in finals of 53.54. In prelims, she had a time of 52.74.
“She was pretty happy with her swims,” McAlpin said. “She learned a lot this year, I think. She learned what it’s going to take to get even higher up on the podium. A lot of the people who finished ahead of her this year aren’t graduating.”
Smith placed ninth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.24. She was seeded 16th going into the consolation finals, and ended up winning the consolation heat.
“She just went after it,” McAlpin said. “That was one of the best ones to watch. She was in the outside lane and just took the heat. It was a fabulous race — very fun to watch and unexpected.”
Smith is an eighth-grader.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Leah Wallace, Mariah Wallace, Abbie Gjelhaug and Reilly was 15th with a finals time of 1:41.40.
In prelims, Hastings had a time of 1:40.44.
In the 100 backstroke, Kari finished seventh with a time of 58.52. She had a time in prelims of 58.08.
“She had a very beautiful swim, technically correct,” McAlpin said.
Kari is a freshman.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Kari, Smith, Gjelhaug and Reilly was 16th with a time of 3:39.32. They were faster in prelims with a time of 3:37.74.
Only two of the state meet swimmers from Hastings were seniors — Spitzack and Leah Wallace. Everyone else is scheduled to return to action next season for the Raiders.
Hastings finished second in the Suburban East Conference this season, earning a 9-1 dual meet record throughout the year.