Waconia swim qualifies for state

The WHS swim team is sending one relay and two individual events to the state meet this weekend, including: front row: alternates Rachael Sanborn, Abigail Wessale, and Nicole Schuler; back row: McKinna Kahl, Hannah Schultz, Carolyn Schmieg, Taylor Beynon, and Jessica Stangret.
The WHS swim team is sending one relay and two individual events to the state meet this weekend, including: front row: alternates Rachael Sanborn, Abigail Wessale, and Nicole Schuler; back row: McKinna Kahl, Hannah Schultz, Carolyn Schmieg, Taylor Beynon, and Jessica Stangret.

One relay and two individual events have advanced to the state competition for the Waconia girls’ swimming and diving team after a successful Section 3A meet last week.

At Hutchinson on Nov. 8-9, the Wildcats finished fourth as a team, just four points shy of third place Orono. Hutchinson won the section, followed by Holy Family.

“By far our best section meet and swim results to date,” head coach Amy Howard-Schmitt said.

Beginning with 22 swimmers at the preliminaries, Waconia advanced 18 swims to the finals, nearly twice what they had in 2011. At the section meet, the Wildcats set five new school records, as well as one new Hutchinson pool record and a section record.

Winning the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.28, freshman Jessica Stangret not only handedly qualified for the state meet (qualifying time was 1:03.04), but also broke the Waconia school record (formerly 1:01.52 set by Stangret this season), the Hutchinson pool record (formerly 59.55 by K. Kucera in 2011), and the Section 3A record (formerly 59.34 by Marissa Warren in 2011).

Sophomore Taylor Beynon finished fourth in the 200 IM in 2:15.12, slipping into the state bracket by over one second (qualifying time 2:16.21). Beynon’s time set a new WHS record in the event. Beynon first broke the record in 2011, and has since reset it three times this season.

With a seventh place finish in the finals, the 200 medley relay team qualified for the state meet with a time of 1:53.92 (qualifying time 1:55.23). Swam by Stangret, senior Hannah Schultz, sophomore McKinna Kahl, and freshman Carolyn Schmieg, the Wildcats set a new Waconia school record. The former record, from 2008, was 1:56.85 set by Alisha Bruner, T. Gregory, Ariel McCullum, and C. Rupp.

Although the times were not fast enough to qualifying for state in the 200 free and 100 fly, new Wildcat records were set. Stangret set a new school record in the 200 free with a time of 2:01.60, breaking an eight-year record of 2:03.57 set by Jenny Nelson in 2004. Kahl finished seventh in the 100 fly with a time of 1:03.43, breaking a 2007 record set by McCullum (1:04.36).

“Fantastic taper and girls dropped perfect amounts of times,” Howard-Schmitt said. “They were dedicated to following all that goes with a positive taper.”

Beynon, Kahl, Schmieg, Schultz, and Stangret will travel to the state tournament this Friday and Saturday, along with WHS alternates Rachael Sanborn, Abigail Wessale, and Nicole Schuler.

The state swimming preliminaries will be Friday, Nov. 16. Class A competition begins at 12 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center. Public ticket sales begin at 10:30 a.m. and seats are reserved. The 200 medley relay is Event 1 on Nov. 16, and the Wildcats are in heat two, lane seven. The 200 IM is Event 3, and Beynon will swim in lane two of heat three. Stangret’s 100 backstroke event is the tenth event of the day. She will be in heat four, lane four.

The finals will be Saturday, Nov. 17, beginning at 12 p.m. also at the University of Minnesota.