Richfield swimmers continue strong season

Sports Editor

The Richfield girls swim and dive team has been continuing its rate of improvement as the Section 2A meet creeps closer on the schedule.

(Photo by Keith Larson)
Richfield’s Abby Stok competes in the Metro West Conference relay meet earlier this season.

While the Spartans fell 99-87 to Jefferson Sept. 21, Richfield took first-place in seven of the 12 events.

Abby Stok, Hannah Hintermeister, Maya Burkstrand and Mikayla Hallow-Tyler took first-place in the 200-yard medley relay competition to kick-start the Spartans. Burkstrand (200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle), Stok (200-yard individual medley), Anna Howard (diving), and Hintermeister (100-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke) also took first-place for the Spartans.

Coming off the competitive loss to Jefferson, Richfield came back and defeated St. Louis Park 100-83 Sept. 28.

“Our girls were not supposed to be able to beat SLP,” Hamren said. “In previous conference action so far this season, SLP defeated Chaska and Chaska beat us.

“The proverbial ‘handwriting was on the wall’, but the Spartans changed the handwriting.”

Hamren believes the Spartans’ success boils down to one thing: hard work.

“We’ve worked on starts and we’ve tried to perfect our turns,” Hamren said. “We have studied race pace, and we have practiced not breathing on the last 15 feet of each race.

“Our swimmers have been averaging 6,000 yards per day, that’s 3.4 miles of swimming, six days a week. That’s a bit over 20 miles of swimming each week, and for much of that swimming, they are asked to elevate their heart rate to 180 [beats per minute].

“They understand and believe in the relationship of hard work to success,” Hamren added. “They deserve the payoff because they have paid the price. I’m proud, humbled, and honored to be their coach.”

Richfield’s 200-yard medley relay team, Hintermeister (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle), Howard (1-meter diving), Stok (100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke), Burkstrand (500-yard freestyle), and the 400-yard relay team took home first-place honors for the Spartans.

After the meet, the Richfield medley relay is the second-fastest in the conference behind Chanhassen. Richfield’s 400-yard freestyle relay, Stok’s 100-yard backstroke time, and Hintermeister’s 100 and 200-yard freestyle times, Burkstrand’s 500-yard freestyle time and Howard’s diving score are also second in the conference. Hintermeister’s 50-yard freestyle time is the fastest in the conference this season.

Richfield will take the pool next against Chanhassen at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Richfield Middle School.

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