WHS swimmers sixth at Hutch, fall to Orono

Senior Abigail Wessale swims the 200 IM on Aug. 27 in the Wildcats’ home dual against Orono. The Wildcats lost 117-69.
Senior Abigail Wessale swims the 200 IM on Aug. 27 in the Wildcats’ home dual against Orono. The Wildcats lost 117-69.

The season began full swing last week as the Waconia girls’ swimming and diving team faced off against a host of teams at Hutchinson on Aug. 24 and then took on Orono in the Wildcats’ first home dual meet of the season.

Finishing sixth at Hutchinson on Aug. 24, the Wildcats tallied 212 points behind team champion Mankato West (437).

“This meet brings in strong teams,” head coach Amy Howard said. “Last year we were eighth out of nine and my goal was sixth or seventh and we took a strong sixth, so it was a success.”

The highlight of the meet, according to Howard, was senior Nicole Hennen’s fourth place finish in the diving competition. Scoring 176.80 points, it was Hennen’s personal best score and diving coaching debut for Kevlsey Ludwigson.

“[Hennen and Ludwigson] are ‘gelling’ and Nicole was composed, focused, and confident,” Howard said.

Howard added that the meet brought many great results for swimmers in multiple events, resulting in 15 ribbons and medals.

The team’s only event win of the day came in the 100 backstroke, when returning state entrant Jessica Stangret won in 1:01.35.

Against  Orono on Tuesday, Aug. 27, the Wildcats were disappointed and fell to the Spartans 117-69.

“We were a bit disappointed at the loss this year, but thinking of last year, Orono had a few key swimmers missing so they were stronger against us,” Howard said. “We swam fine but for the next few weeks we are going to be working on our ability to finish our close races with more energy and fight.”

In the dual, Waconia relay teams finished second, third, and sixth in the 200 medley relay, 2-3-5 in the 200 free relay, and 2-4-6 in the 400 free relay.

Stangret was second in the 200 and 500 freestyle events, while Beynon was second in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.

Kathryn Stangret finished third in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 free. Wessale was third in the 100 fly, while seventh grader Anneli Paulson finished fourth.  Schmieg brought home second place finishes in the 100 free and 100 backstroke.

Hennen won the diving competition with a score of 165.10. Eighth grader Ashley Basile made her diving debut and did very well, considering how new she is to the sport, said Howard.

Howard said two weeks into the season, the girls are feeling ‘heavy’ in the water, but said it is the normal progression.  In addition, the team is making progress on finding good swim sprinters.

“Though we have always struggled getting enough really fast sprinters, I feel we are making progress,” Howard said. “We had several that posted 27s and 26s in the sprint 50s [at Hutchinson] and Carolyn Schmieg was three-tenths from a 25. We need to get four girls down the mid 25s in order to bring them to state [in a relay] so it is a goal to work toward early in the season.”

Against Orono, the junior varsity girls defeated the Spartans 100-75.

Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]