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Wildcat swimmers keep improving

Senior Andrew Richardt swims the breaststroke portion of the 200 yard individual medley in the Wildcat boys swimming and diving team's Big Rivers Conference dual meet against Menomonie Tuesday, Dec. 12. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

River Falls posted first place finishes in every event and took second place in most of the others to roll to a 111-63 victory over Menomonie in a Big Rivers Conference boys swimming and diving dual meet Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the high school pool.

The Wildcats followed that up with a third place finish at the 11-team Santa Claus Invitational Saturday, Dec. 16 at Eau Claire North.

Head coach Eric Emerson said he was glad to see the continued improvement from the Cats in their last two meets.

"They've been working hard trying to get into great shape so I wasn't necessarily looking for huge improvements in time, but it was there anyway," he said. "I really liked the way they competed though because often they were doing their best to touch out that guy next to them."

Emerson said not only did the veterans produce the dual win over Menomonie, but the younger swimmers improved as well.

The Cats' 200 yard medley relay team of Logan McLaughlin, Anders Olson, John Augustin, and Seth Larsen started off the night with a winning time of 1 minute, 49.39 seconds before freshmen Connor Baar and Jacob Richardt took first and third in the 200 freestyle with times of 2:07.23 and 2:32.74, respectively.

Every Wildcat in the 100 freestyle dropped time, led by sophomore Seth Larsen in first place in 55.36 seconds and junior Derick Graves in second in 1:02.54. Sophomore Nathan Lawrence added a fifth place time of 1:05.87 while sophomore Alden Brunner clocked in at 1:13.91.

The Wildcats also picked up points in diving, with senior Huck Boles posting a winning score of 188.2 and sophomore Parker Peterschmidt second with 135.05.

"This was the first time diving in competition for Parker after picking up the sport and learning his dives this year," Emerson noted.

Saturday the Wildcats took third at the Santa Claus Invitational with a total of 165 points. Eau Claire Alliance was first with 310 followed by D.C. Everest with 177.

"At the end, we knew it was close with D.C. Everest and we needed every point," Emerson said. "Even though we weren't able to get ahead of them, they were all looking for ways to maximize points."

Emerson said it was nice to see the Wildcats finish ahead of some bigger schools like Stevens Point and Chippewa Falls.

River Falls' best point haul came in the 100 freestyle, where McLaughlin took second in 50.91 seconds and Augustin was sixth in 52.96, both season-best times. The pair also teamed up with Baar and Larsen for a third place time of 1:36.28 in the 200 freestyle relay.

Senior Andrew Richardt added a fourth place time of 4:34.45 in the 500 freestyle and Baar was fifth in 5:35.08, while Olson took sixth in the 100 breaststroke with a season-best time of 1:09.54.

Next up for the Wildcats is a double dual with Superior and Hudson Friday, Jan. 5, in Superior.

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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