The first day of the MSHSL Section 1A girls swimming and diving meet was like a roller coaster, according to Winhawks coach Chris Mayer.
“We saw some incredible highs with a new school record, and also experienced the crushing realization that some swims just missed coming back for finals,” Mayer said. “We have some great positions heading into Friday’s finals, and hopefully we see a few state berths.”
In the preliminary round, the top eight finishers advance to Friday’s finals, while the next eight advance to a consolation swim. Friday’s finals winners automatically advance to the state meet, as well as anyone who swims a state qualifying standard.
The 200 medley relay of Anna MacLennan, Emily Robison, Carolyn Macon and Ava Pike got the day started off on the right note by placing fourth in 1:54.50 — about 1 second above the state qualifying time of 1:53.49.
“We think these girls have a great shot of dropping a little more time and making the state cut on Friday,” Mayer said.
The time is also the fourth fastest in Winona history.
All four swimmers in the 200 freestyle set season bests, and Carolyn Macon advanced to the finals by placing seventh in 2:00.32, which ranks seventh in Winona history. Anna McCormick advanced to the consolation finals in 2:11.55. Harper Wolner (2:13.82) and Anna-Lee Landers (2:14.04) just missed the cut.
Kaylee Niemeyer advanced to the finals of the 200 individual medley (2:24.69), while
MacLennan will swim in the consolation finals (2:29.52.).
Mary Hoffman will swim in the consolation finals of the 50 freestyle after recording a 26.83 to place 15th.
Macon set a school record in the 100 butterfly, posting a 58.50, which is seeded second heading into Friday’s finals. Ryka Parsi smashed her previous best time by 4 seconds to record a 1:09.47 and qualify for the consolation finals by placing 15th.
Emily Robison and Mary Hoffman qualified for the consolation finals in the 100 freestyle. Ava Pike just missed out, finishing 19th in 59.70.
“Ava has been a rock star for us this season,” Mayer said. “With Mary Hoffman being injured, Ava has filled some incredibly large shoes and has certainly filled them well. Thankfully, she’s only a ninth-grader and we will have her for a few more years.”
Niemeyer and McCormick qualified for the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle in 5:53.63 and 6:01.33, respectively.
The 200 freestyle relay of Pike, Hoffman, Robison and Macon placed sixth in 1:45.70. They’ll be in Friday’s finals.
Wolner dropped 4 seconds to swim a 1:04.17 in the 100 backstroke to qualify fifth for finals. It’s the 11th fastest time in school history. MacLennan swam a 1:05.56 to qualify for the consolation finals.
Robison qualified ninth for the consolation finals of the 100 breaststroke in 1:13.46, the 13th fastest time in school history.
The 400 freestyle relay, a tough team for the coaches to pick, qualified for finals with all four swimmers coming close to the minute-man mark — Landers (1:00.70), Parsi (1:00.70), Ziegeweid (1:00.90) and McCormick (1:01.10).
“We have more tough decisions to make Friday as we are unsure who will swim finals,” Mayer said. “These girls gave some great races and maybe they can drop. We shall see.”