ST. CLOUD — Fallon Ryan was one of two freshmen competing in the Section 8-2A 200-yard freestyle Saturday.
She’s also just one of two swimmers from that event who advanced to the Class 2A state meet thanks to her second-place finish at St. Cloud Tech High School.
It’s not the only event Ryan will swim at state as she also placed second in the 500 freestyle. She’s also not the only Brainerd Warrior going to state as teammate Beth Etterman placed third in diving.
The sophomore was the youngest qualifier of the four that advance to state in that event as she collected 366.80 points. Maple Grove’s Lexi Tenenbaum won the event with 418.65.
“Beth dove very steady,” said Brainerd Warriors head coach Dan Anderson. “She might have one or two dives she would like to take back, but for the most part she dove very well. Her 366 points — that’s very good.”
Ryan swam a 1:59.22 in the 200 to finish behind St. Michael-Albertville’s Katie Schmitz, who won the event in 1:58.53. Ryan’s time broke Christina Roberts’ school record of 1:59.66 set in 2002.
She also broke her own school record in the 500 free with a 5:19.50. Maple Grove’s Erin Pettyes won the event in 5:18.52.
“You look at those two races and starting with the 200, that was a tight race. She was the No. 3 seed going into the meet. She was the No. 1 qualifier after Friday’s prelims, but we knew everyone else was going to swim faster and she had to as well. It was a heck of the race. If you look at the splits, she only beat the third-place girl by .03 and she out swam her on the final leg by .02.
In the 500, it was kind of the same, but only harder to watch. Really the top three girls were neck-and-neck until the Maple Grove girl started to pull away a little bit. That left Fallon and a girl from St. Michael matching each other up and down the pool. Finally at the end Fallon got her by .15.
Teammate Stephanie Hansen swam the school’s fifth-fastest 200 free time to place sixth in the event. She also swam the school’s third fastest 500 free to place fifth in that event.
“Stephanie did have two great races,” Anderson said. “Her 2:01 in the 200 free is a fantastic swim. She was really smart and swam the best race of her life. In the 500 she swam the third fastest time in school history. We were really spoiled this year to have two amazing 500 freestylers.”
Hannah McKeag didn’t qualify for state, but she made her presence known to the section. The eighth grader swam a fifth-place 25.72 in the 50 free and then swam a school record 1:01.90 to place fourth in the 100 backstroke. McKeag’s 1:01.90 broke Siri Smith’s record of 1:01.92 set last year.
“Hannah worked that race really hard,” said Anderson. “She was dead at the end. We were happy to see that time.”
McKeag was also part of Brainerd’s 200 medley relay that finished third, but just missed qualifying for state by time standard. The foursome of McKeag, Erica Rehnblom, Alex Erickson and Alyssa Hartshorn swam a 1:53.08 or .31 of a second off the time standard.
Freshman Reilly Peterson swam the school’s fourth fastest 200 individual medley to place sixth with a 2:22.17.
Brainerd’s 400 free relay of Laura Boran, Peterson, Hartshorn and Ryan placed fourth with the school’s fourth-fastest time of 3:44.58.
The top two individuals and top two relays and those that qualify by time standard advance to state.
Anderson said his team’s goal was to have everyone swim season best times. The Warriors left the pool very happy.
“We were 36-of-36 on season best swims,” said Anderson. “That has never happened for us before. We’ve been close, but never have we gotten everyone to swim a season best.”