The Winhawk Girls Swim and Dive program had great performances and earned their best finish at the Big 9 Conference meet since 2015 as they took fifth of the 12 Big 9 teams. The total scores are as follows: Rochester Century 494, Rochester Mayo 324.5, Northfield 285, Mankato West 269, Winona 170.5, Mankato East 149, Austin 130, Red Wing 117, Owatonna 116, Rochester John Marshall 85, Faribault 62, and Albert Lea 41.

We began the meet with a B relay that crushed their seed time and took seventh out of the exhibition relays. Makayla Finnegan, Alaitz Elkorobarrutia, Olivia Teichroew, and Kenley Jacobs all swam personal bests and finished in 2:19.02 minutes. Our A relay continued to swim well and took fourth in the scoring portion in 1:58.53. That was the team of Anna MacLennan, Emily Robison, Abby Williams, and Ava Pike.

MacLennan jumped out of the medley and into the 200 freestyle, holding her seed time and finished in 11th place in 2:08.42. Pike added a few tenths of a second to her seed time and took 14th with her 2:11.01. Ava Koopman was one of the girls who suited up to improve her positioning for next week and dropped almost five seconds to place 21st with her 2:15.07.

Williams cruised to a seventh place finish in the 200 individual medley with her 2:22.01 finish. Grace Nelson just missed scoring as she dropped a little time to swim a 2:32.50 and finish at 19th. Hannah Benter crushed her best time and finished in 28th place with her 2:42.81. Piper Jones dropped a huge amount of time as well and finished in 36th place with her 2:52.10.

Our 50 freestyles were strong and showed some strength for Sections. Anna McCormick blasted a new best time to finish in 29.65, good for 41st. Teichroew dropped a huge amount of time to finish at 28.46, good for 34th. Erica Ruppert almost made it into the 27s as she swam a 28.19, good for 31st, and Emily Robison held her time and finished with 27.67, good for 28th.

In the diving contest, Ayanna King continues to show she is a dominant force in the conference as she finished third overall with her 288.55 points. Our other three divers, Ashlyn Full, Calla Pike, and Jessica Beguin competed and did well in their first six dives, but were cut in the prelim round as they were just short of the scores needed to move forward. Hopefully those three will tweak their order of dives and make it further in Sections.

Our 100 butterflyers did great, and we are looking forward to Sections to see how well they can improve. Williams was near her seed time and finished fifth overall with her 1:05.04 finish. Harper Wolner tied for 13th and swam a great 1:07.84. Finnegan dropped a full second and finished at 1:14.45, good for 24th. Ruppert dropped almost five seconds and finished at 1:15.99, good for 27th.

Pike led the charge for us in the 100 freestyle and swam near her personal best, finished in 11th with her 58.30. Erica Beckman held her seed time and swam a 1:02.76, good for 31st. Teichroew lost her goggles but still swam near her best time, finishing in 1:05.66, which was good for 37th. Jacobs had the biggest time drop for our team in this event, dropping nearly three seconds and finishing in 1:06.88, which was good for 39th.

Our 500s continue to be rather strong as Maddie Modjeski and Nelson continue to be our top swimmers in the event. Maddie finished just ahead of Grace today, taking 15th in 5:52.62. Grace was right behind her in 16th with her 5:59.30 finish. Ava Koopman continued the time drops to finish in 26th place with her 6:17.94. McCormick was right behind Ava finishing in 27th with her 6:18.68.

Our B 200 free relay team crushed their seed time and all had personal best 50s to finish in ninth of the exhibition relays with their 2:04.74. That was the team of Benter, Jones, Elkorobarrutia, and Jacobs. Taking cue from the B relay, our A relay went out and had a great race, finishing in 5th with their 1:46.09, the team of MacLennan, Robison, Williams, and Pike.

Our 100 backstrokers look to be in great position as they head into the Section 1 meet next week as they had wonderful swims. MacLennan was our top finisher with her 1:04.99, taking seventh place. Wolner swam a new season best with her 1:06.04. Beckman notched a new personal best with her 1:11.77 finish, good for 25th. Finnegan crushed her time for a new personal best of 1:12.96, good for 28th.

Our breaststroke event saw some younger girls that look to take the reins from Robison next year as she heads to college to hopefully swim. Emily was our top performer and finished in 11th with her 1:15.44. Benter notched a new personal best with her 1:26.51, good for 30th. Elkorobarrutia broke the 1:30 barrier as well, taking 32nd with her 1:27.04. Jones continues to drop time to her new best of 1:32.53, good for 40th.

Last event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay. We have eight strong girls who swam this race and our B relay took third of the exhibition racers in 4:11.45. That was the team of McCormick, Ruppert, Beckman, and Teichroew. We graduate Anna this year, but those other three girls will play huge roles next year. Our A relay swam faster than their seed time and placed seventh overall with their 4:00.51. This was the team of Nelson, Koopman, Modjeski, and Wolner. We’re looking to these four girls to lead the team at Sections in the event and hopefully drop quite a bit of time and crush that four-minute barrier.

What a great day. Our plan worked perfectly – our top end held their seed times and our middle group destroyed their seed times. They should be have better competition next to them at Section prelims and hopefully that spurs them to go even faster. The top end girls are looking to surprise many and should be in contention for very high places at Sections.

Our girls will be competing with Mankato West and New Prague for the top three team spots, and we are eagerly looking forward to the meet. Prelims for Sections takes place at noon on Wednesday, November 10, and finals will be at noon on Friday, November 12. Both events are held at the Rochester Rec Center again.