The Watertown-Mayer/Delano girls’ swimming and diving team couldn’t have asked for a better start to its dual season than the one it got last Thursday, when the Royals defeated St. Peter at home, 106-80.
The Royals took three of the top four spots — first, third and fourth — in the first event of the day, the 200-meter medley relay, and never trailed in defeating a team they lost to last year. Thea Clark, Addie Weber, Jenna Grangroth and Alexa Asbury were part of that victorious relay that saw Asbury outtouch St. Peter by about half a second to take the win and set the tone for the rest of the meet.
“It was exciting,” WMD coach Chuck Charnstrom said of the win. “We lost to St. Peter last year and they had some returning state qualifying swimmers on their team. They have a large team as well.”
Individually, Kayla Stevens and Sommer Heikkila both won two events for the Royals. Stevens won the 200 freestyle in 2:05.92 and the 500 freestyle in 5:44.26, while Heikkila won the 200-meter Individual Medley in 2:33.02 and the 100 butterfly in 1:11.20.
“Kayla Stevens had an awesome meet,” Charnstrom said. “Her 200 time won by more than 5 seconds and her 500 was her personal best. Sommer Heikkila also swam great. Her cardiovascular strength really came through as she seemed to accelerate into all of her finishes.”
Andi Jo Shrode had a dominant performance for the Royals on the diving board, scoring 193.2 points to win by more than 70 points. Weber also had a first-place finish for the Royals in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:18.72, and added a second-place finish in the 50 freestle with a time of 27.46 seconds.
Noelle Johnson also picked up a pair of second-place finishes for the Royals in the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle, behind only Stevens in both races, with times of 2:11.32 and 5:52.49 respectively. Jenna Grangroth was second in the 200 IM in 2:34.69, Sophia Fillmore was second in the 100 freestyle in 1:02.08 and Mia Lindgren was second in the 100 backstroke in 1:13.24. Kalley Johnson had a second-place finish in the 100-breaststroke with a time of 1:19.08 and a third-place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:14.80. Thea Clark also had a third place finish for the Royals in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:14.48.
In relays, the Royals did not win the 200 or 400-meter freestyles, but took two out of the top three spots in each. In the 200, Shrode, Heikkila, Klara Koch and Fillmore took second, and in the 400, Asbury, Fillmore, Noelle Johnson and Kalley Johnson took second.
“The girls looked like they were more conditioned than they were at this point last year,” Charnstrom said. “Our assistant coach, Brad Hendricks, has taken over the roll of conditioning and we are complementing our swimming by getting them in shape out of the pool more, and turning those who are not already into athletes. The girls have responded wonderfully and it has allowed us to get a little more room in the pool and a little more red faces during practice.”
The Royals were also in action Tuesday at Mound-Westonka in the first Wright County Conference dual of the season, and they return to action Thursday, Sept. 13, at Orono at 6 p.m. The Royals also compete at an invitational at Hutchinson Middle School Saturday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m., and again on Monday, Sept. 17, in a home triangular at 6 p.m. against Waconia and Dassel-Cokato.