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Girls Swimming & Diving: 6 Cardinals, 4 Dragons ready for state meet

Willmar is sending these six swimmers to the Class A meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis starting with preliminaries on Tuesday. From left, the 200 medley relay team of Miranda Kuchta, Kennedy Holwerda, Alycia Holwerda and McKenna Olson; 400 freestyle relay members Marin Fischer and Anna Backes. The Holwerda sisters will also swim in individual events. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

With a bow to Duluth-born Bob Dylan “The Times They Are a-Changin” … downward.

At the Section 3A girls meet at Willmar’s 8-lane tank last Saturday, pool and section standards were lowered in 8 of the 11 swimming events.

Two Cardinal records fell: Junior Alycia Howerda rebooted her 100 breaststroke mark to 1:07.92, a drop of 1.02 seconds. The 400 freestyle relay foursome of Marin Fischer, Anna Backes, Miranda Kuchta and Kennedy Holwerda swam a state-qualifying time of 3:43.91, lowering the 2006 record-board time of 3:44.35 (Mary Morris, Aleasha Blokzyl, Sarah Hund, Alissa Tinklenberg).

Willmar’s two relays and individual entrants, sisters Kennedy and Alycia Holwerda, all seed into the top 16. That’s the minimum finish needed to move to the second day. Last year, Willmar had two relays at state but neither made it out of the prelims.

Kuchta, Kennedy Holwerda and Fischer swam at state a year ago.

Alycia Holwerda is seeded just outside the top 8 in the breaststroke so she has a real shot at the championship heat on Wednesday. The 50 freestyle is packed tight with times under 25 seconds and two sub-24s. Kennedy Holwerda had a career-best 24.63 in the section prelims but is seeded at 24.72, her time in the section final.

Prelims in Class A begin at noon Tuesday at the Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

Litchfield medal winners return

Litchfield senior Marissa Warren and junior Anika Ellingson each qualified individually again. Also, they join senior Emma Ridgeway and sophomore Sydney Weires, who swam on the 200 freestyle relay at state last year, on the 200 medley relay.

Ellingson placed sixth in the breaststroke last November. Seeded at 1:08.14, she will have to drop a couple of seconds to get back to the championship heat.

Warren placed third in the butterfly and was the runner-up in the backstroke at the section meet. She’s seeded in the top 8 but seconds behind the leaders with a seed time of 1:00.20. Her butterfly seed (57.18) is second only to returning champion Danielle Nack of Mankato West (55.26).

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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