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Wildcat Alex Haskins dives off the block to swim the anchor leg of the 200 yard freestyle relay at the Maroon and Gold Invitational Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. Haskins, Nick Fugate, Ethan Larsen and Collin Nielsen teamed up for a tenth place finish out of 30 teams in the event. (Submitted photo)

Swimmers shine at U of M meet

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Swimmers shine at U of M meet
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Wildcat boys’ swim team held its own Saturday at the prestigious Maroon and Gold Invitational at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

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Fifty-three high school teams competed in four divisions at one of the biggest meets in the Midwest. River Falls’ swimmers turned in a number of personal and season best times to finish tenth in the Tiger Division.

“This meet is always fun for the boys to attend,” head coach Kirk Gednalske said. “It's at a pool unlike anything else we get the opportunity to swim at. We also get to swim against teams that we don't see the rest of the season. They provide a great challenge for us.”

Senior Collin Nielsen was one of the Wildcats who answered that challenge, posting personal best times in the 50 yard and 100 yard freestyle races while accounting for

Nielsen finished 13<sup>th</sup> in the 100 freestyle in 55.28 seconds&nbsp;and 16<sup>th</sup> in the 50 freestyle in 24.97 seconds to bring in 13 points for the team.

Alex Haskins, Fernando Lambert, Nick Fugate and Nielsen combined for an eight place time of 1 minute, 53.45 seconds in the 200 medley relay while Fugate, Ethan Larsen, Nielsen and Haskins took tenth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:41.82.

Gednalske said Lambert, a senior from Hungary, has been a great addition to the team.

“Fernando Lambert walked on to the team at the end of the second week with almost no competitive swimming experience,” the coach said. “The gains that he has made each meet had been incredible. His first time swimming the 200 IM was&nbsp;on Saturday&nbsp;and he set the best time for the team. He swam his fastest 100 breast at the U, again, setting the fastest time for the team. He has a great amount of natural swimming ability. We wish he would have joined us years ago!”

Diver Nate Wronski posted the Cats’ highest individual finish Saturday, placing sixth with a score of 155.05. Haskins posted an eighth place time of 54.17 seconds in the 100 freestyle and Fugate contributed a 12<sup>th</sup> place time of 1:01.99 in the 100 butterfly while Andrew Tiede took 13<sup>th</sup> in the 500 free in 5:55.16.

Gednalske said sophomore Colin Cosgrove had a great meet as well for the Wildcats.

“He walked on the team with no experience last year and has progressed tremendously this season,” he said. “He achieved his season best in both his individual events, the 200 IM and 100 back.”

&nbsp;The Wildcats will host Superior and Hudson in a triangular meet this Friday beginning at 6 p.m. at the high school pool.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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