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Swimmers off to good start

<i>Bob Burrows photo</i> Members of the Wildcat girls' swim team practice their starts while coach Lynn Huiskamp looks on before their dual meet at Red Wing, Minn., Aug. 27. The Cats had one of their closest meets ever with the Wingers, losing by a score of 100.5 to 85.5.

With 53 athletes on the Wildcat girls' swimming and diving team this season, depth should be one of the team's strengths. And that feature was displayed prominently in the Cats' season-opening win at the Menomonie Relays last weekend and a close loss to Red Wing, Minn., Friday, Aug. 27.

The Cats had just two first place finishes -- in the 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle crescendo relays -- but head coach Lynn Huiskamp said their depth and willingness to swim different events were key to winning the six-team invite.

"I have witnessed expectant, possibly anxious, wide eyes when a meet line-up goes up and the team sees names matched with completely new events," she said. "But there have been no complaints about where I determine they should swim. Before a race, I only witness determination to go after the points. There is enough depth within both the swim and the dive team to provide great competition with each other. The team seems to understand that the increasing motivation of each member makes us better as a whole." The Cats' wins at Menomonie came from Sofia Carlson, Tessa Coggio, Madi Probst and Marla Probst in the 200 butterfly relay, and Katie Kidd, Madi Probst, Grace Goblirsch and Coggio in the 500 free crescendo relay.

The Cats took first with a total of 592 points. Hudson was second with 506 followed by Menomonie with 342, Eau Claire North and Medford each with 338 and La Crosse Central/Logan with 326.

Friday, Aug. 27 at Red Wing, the Cats had one of their closest meets ever with the Wingers, losing by a score of 100.5 to 85.5.

"Red Wing is a seasoned Minnesota state title holder, and we have a great history of swimming against them early in the season," Huiskamp said. Generally, this becomes a very humble experience as Red Wing shows us their speed and depth and runs away with the meet. This year, however, was quite different."

Among the highlights of the meet was the Cats taking the top three spots in three different events. Coggio, Marla Probst and Mandy Hedeen finished first through third, respectively, in the 50 freestyle and Coggio, Madi Probst and Carlson finished one-two-three in the 100 butterfly while Sierra Becker, Rose Tashjian and Britta Grebner earned the top three places in diving.

Goblirsch added a pair of first place finishes -- in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle.

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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