• 46°

Packers, Walsh make the best of their return to the pool

The Pack is back.

After going five months without competing, Austin opened its fall sports season when the Austin swimming and diving lost 92-87 Mankato East in a virtual meet in Bud Higgins Pool Thursday night.

Austin was able to keep the meet socially distanced, by only having competing athletes on the pool floor. Any swimmer or diver, who wasn’t currently competing had to sit up in the stands.

Austin sophomore Olivia Walsh made the most out of her first night back in action as she took second in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle for the Packers. She also was on the first place 200-yard medley relay team along with Madelyn Murley, Molly Sheehan and Molly Garry.

The last time Walsh competed for the Packers, it was in a Section 1AAA quarterfinal loss to Kasson-Mantorville in basketball. She was thrilled to get back in on the action.

“It was really weird, but I was really happy with how I did in the first meet, especially with such little practice,” Walsh said. “I’m really happy that we are having a season and we get to do it. I’d rather do it this way, then not do anything at all.”

Walsh, who moved to Austin from Boise, Idaho last summer, has been into swimming since she was four years old and living in California.

“Swimming is a really big sport to me. I play basketball and run track and field to stay in shape for it,” Walsh said. “I picked it up in California. Everybody swims there and I swam year round. Swimming is a really big sport there.”

While going through a pandemic in her freshman and sophomore years of high school was a big change, Walsh has also had to adjust to living in Austin, which has a population of about 25,000 people, after living in Boise, which has a population of nearly 229,000 people.

Walsh is glad to have one familiarity back when she gets in the pool, even if it is a virtual meet where she can’t see her opponents.

“I’m really happy that we are having a season and we get to do it. I’d rather do it this way, then not do anything at all,” Walsh said.

Reese Norton took first place in diving for Austin.

200-medley relay: Madelyn Murley, Molly Sheehan, Molly Garry, Olivia Walsh (first, 2:00.19); Anna Kossman, Mackenzie Carter, Ingrid Dolan Peterson, Rose Garry (fifth, 2:32.34); Kaylee Butts, Adyson Wradislvasky, Katherine Diaz, Madi Rysavy (sixth, 2:32.34)

200-freestyle: Sydney Tobak (third, 2:26.76); Lucy Lagervall (fourth, 2:27.03); Alayna Jovaag (sixth, 3:01.06)

200-individual medley: Molly Sheehan (second, 2:33.375); Ingrid Dolan Peterson (fourth, 2:46.45)

50-freestyle: Olivia Walsh (second, 26.14); Molly Garry (fourth, 27.24); Mackenzie Carter (sixth, 28.82)

Diving: Reese Norton (first, 234.12); Rachel Engelstad (second, 221.64); Ali Portz (third, 209.61)

100-butterfly: Sydney Tobak (fourth, 1:21.05)

100-freestyle: Olivia Walsh (second, 58.90); Lucy Lagervall (fifth, 1:06.74); Anna Kossman (sixth, 1:07.11)

500-freestyle: Molly Garry (third, 6:07.41); Anna Bailey (fifth, 7:50.02)

200-freestyle relay: Molly Sheehan, Madelyn Murley, Ingrid Dolan Peterson, Olivia Walsh (second, 1:51.81); Lucy Lagervall, Sydney Tobak, Emma Keenan, Anna Bailey (fourth, 2:07.94); Madi Rysavy, Avari Drennan, Alayna Jovaag, Kadance Morehouse (sixth, 2:27.13)

100-backstroke: Madelyn Murley (third, 1:11.98); Anna Kossman (fifth, 1:21.11); Mackenzie Carter (sixth, 1:23.64)

100-breaststroke: Molly Sheehan (second, 1:16.47); Ingrid Dolan Peterson (fourth, 1:27.33); Madi Rysavy (sixth, 1:43.29)

400-freestyle relay: Molly Garry, Lucy Lagervall, Mackenzie Carter, Madelyn Murley (second, 4:18.86); Sydney Tobak, Rose Garry, Anna Bailey, Anna Kossman (fifth, 4:50.30); Emma Keenan, Olivia Schmit, Avari Drennan, Kaylee Butts (sixth, 5:32.64)