Wildcat swimmers fourth at WCC meet

Waconia junior Abigail Wessale swims the breaststroke for the Wildcats at the Wright County Conference meet at Hutchinson on Oct. 27.

Waconia junior Abigail Wessale swims the breaststroke for the Wildcats at the Wright County Conference meet at Hutchinson on Oct. 27.

The Waconia swimming and diving team finished fourth in the Wright County Conference over the weekend. The WCC championship meet, held at Hutchinson on Oct. 27 involved all seven conference teams. Hutchinson won the meet with 548 points, well ahead of second place Mound-Westonka/Holy Family at 470. Dassel-Cokato was third at 313 before the Wildcats in fourth at 278.

Of the Wildcats performance, head coach Amy Howard-Schmitt said the Waconia swimmers started each race very strong, but petered out at the end, losing time and speed.

“Our endurance wasn’t there,” she said.

Orono (240), Watertown-Mayer/Delano (239), and Litchfield (206) also competed.

To medal in a given event, swimmers had to finish in the top eight. The top 16 individuals earned points for their team score.

Seventh grader Nicole Schuler swims the backstroke at Hutchinson.

Seventh grader Nicole Schuler swims the backstroke at Hutchinson.

Howard-Schmitt said competitive swimming is partially a mind game. She said a swimmer has to believe in herself and focus on her lane as to not get distracted by other swimmers.

“We always say ‘leave it in the pool’,” Howard-Schmitt said.

Waconia started the day with a 200 medley relay team on the podium. Finishing eighth in the event with a time of 1:58.32 was freshman Jessica Stangret, sophomore Taylor Beynon, sophomore McKinna Kahl, and senior Hannah Schultz. Stangret went on to medal in the 200 freestyle, finishing seventh in 2:04.58. Beynon and freshman Carolyn Schmieg were third and fifth in the 200 IM, finishing in 2:19.92 and 2:23.99, respectively.

Schultz was seventh in the 50 free at 26.46, while junior Abigail Wessale was sixth in the 100 fly (1:05.25). Howard-Schmitt said Wessale swims with a strong competitive spirit, despite being a soft-spoken student.

“She almost gets faster the longer the race goes,” Howard-Schmitt said.

In diving, junior Nicole Hennen finished fifth with 270.80 points. Freshman Ella Hommer was 11th (222.60). Mound-Westonka /Holy Family’s Kayla Lindeman set a new conference record, winning the event with a score of 338.25 (old record 287.25).

Stangret, Kahl, Schmieg, and Schultz were sixth in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:46.28. Stangret and Schmieg also swam the 100 backstroke, finishing first and sixth with times of 59.98 and 1:04.87. Stangret’s quick sub-minute time was a first for her this season and Howard-Schmitt said the win in the event was welcome.

“It was pretty nice to be in the first spot,” she said.

Schultz and Beynon were 4-5 in the 100 breaststroke, with close times of 1:13.02 and 1:13.18.

The Wildcats will have a week of tapering practices before they compete at the Section 3A meet next Thursday, Nov. 8.

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