In the upcoming season, the Red Wing girls' swim and dive is aiming for more representation in the state finals. The top four returning swimmers - Cecelia De Jong, Grace O'Brien, Sammy Kriese and Teegan Beyers - all made it to the state meet last November. The group competed in the 200-yard medley relay and De Jong swam in the 100 butterfly.
As for O'Brien, Kriese and Beyers, they all missed the cut for the finals by less than 1 second in their respective races. With that in mind, Red Wing head coach Mikayla Beuch said the team is "going to shoot as high as we can."
In the opening weeks of the season, Beuch is pleased with each of the swimmer's race times, especially in the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
"They really know how to work as a team," Beuch said about Beyers, De Jong, Kriese and O'Brien.. "They set up a good example for the other girls to follow. They continually surprise me at meets with how much they can push."
Beuch said during the first week of the season, it was "second nature" for the four getting back together and swimming again.
Having the four back is a big boost for the team as the younger swimmers get to follow along. Beuch said the four, especially De Jong, seem to have just begun reaching their highest potential.
"(De Jong) has significantly progressed every year in her individual (races)," Beuch said. "Now she's at a point where she's realizing how competitive she can truly be at the state level."
Beuch said most of the team joined a local cross-fit program during the summer to train for this fall. Three days per week, the team is lifting weights now that the season has started. Beuch said she's noticed positive results.
There's certainly high expectations for the team. The team hopes to send Kriese in the 100 breaststroke, Beyers in the 100 freestyle and hopefully the 50 freestyle., Cecelia in the 100 butterfly again, and Grace O'Brien in the 500 freestyle. All four swimmers make up the top relay in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle, which are two more events Beuch would like to see in state.
As for the rest of the team, Payten Jaynes and Kendra Carlisle will be the primary divers. Both eighth graders, Beuch said there's plenty of time to work with them and eventually would like to one if not both in state.
Freshman Sophie Carlson is another young swimmer Beuch said is on the fast track in development.
"She's already on par with some of the older girls," she said.
In the coming weeks, Beuch is focused on seeing each swimmer succeed in their respective race, even it means experimenting with adjustments.
"Early in the season, we can afford to see if certain tweaks can work," Beuch said. "Let's try taking one more dolphin kick and let's see what that does for us. If we try it and it doesn't work out, then we go back to where we were at. ... If it does work, we just hit a gold mine and keep progressing."