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Woodbury girls swimming & diving: Sortland earns all-state

Woodbury junior Ana Sortland earned fifth place in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class AA state swim meet with a time of 1 minute, 4.99 seconds. (Bulletin photo by Nick Gerhardt)

A few words of encouragement from mom and dad helped Woodbury junior Ana Sortland accomplish a first at the Class AA state meet Wednesday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Sortland’s mom provided the pep talk at the state meet while dad provided a few notes and a little fudge to help her reach the championship finals in an event for the first time in her career.

Sortland ended up finishing fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 4.99 seconds, which qualified for All-American consideration. Her time came in 0.36 seconds slower than her prelim time, but Sortland and the rest of the team tapered prior to the section meet. Sortland’s performance came after a disappointing summer season.

“I had a really rough summer season. When I went to junior nationals I gained one or two seconds on my 100 breaststroke twice,” Sortland said. “Their support was just a big, big help.”

Sortland also had to contend with swimming in nine events through the course of two days.

“If anybody had to do it, that’s the kid I would want to do it,” Royals head coach Michelle Lieder said. “I think it was a learning curve for her that made her that much stronger and now she’s ready to be at that level.”

Reaching the championship finals was a goal for Sortland this season after two previous trips to state and missing out on the finals last season.

“One thing about state is once you make top eight at prelims, that’s kind of where you’re at,” Sortland said. “It was reassuring to kind of know that I would already be top eight, but it was still fun to actually get a top-eight time.”

Sortland also finished 15th in the 200 individual medley in 2:11.69, which was two seconds slower than her seed time.

The 200 medley relay team of Sortland, freshman Taylor Brooks, eighth-grader Lucia Rizzo and senior Kristina Swanson finished 15th in 1:50.51, .39 seconds slower than its seed time.

The 200 freestyle relay of Sortland, Swanson, Brooks and Rizzo finished 14th in 1:40.67 after it needed to compete in a swim off against Chanhassen in prelims the previous day. Both teams had a time of 1:40.86 in prelims, but the Royals edged out the Storm in the swim-off to qualify for the consolation finals.

For Swanson the experience of the swim-off was exhilarating, despite the meet being the last of her career.

“The swim-off was one of the highlights of my entire high school career,” Swanson said. “I’ve never experienced anything like that before so that was really fun. I came into today both dreading it and really hyped up for it, knowing it was my last meet ever. I just knew I had to leave it all in the pool today.”

Woodbury finished in 20th place overall with 26 points. Wayzata won the team title with 275 points and Edina finished second with 221 points.

Brooks qualified for state in the 100 backstroke and 50 free, but failed to qualify for the finals. Sydney Swanson also qualified for state in the 100 backstroke, but did not reach the finals.

“We came off an amazing section final meet,” Lieder said. “Everyone swam so well. We knew it’d be tough to swim fast here again.”

Woodbury set a pool record, school record and section record in the 200 medley relay at the section meet while Sydney Swanson and Brooks broke a pool record in the 100 backstroke.

-Nick Gerhardt