From: Chris Mayer, co-head coach


The Winona Winhawk Girls Swim and Dive program had a very successful start to its 2021 season, winning their first dual meet in Faribault, 97 – 77, on September 2.

It was an emotional night, as this was the Winhawks’ first in-person dual meet in since October 2019. All of us are looking forward to a great season filled with smiles, laughter, and celebration of each other’s successes.

We began with strong 200 medley relays. Taking first place was the team of Harper Wolner, Emily Robison, Abby Williams, and Ava Pike with their time of 2:00.86 minutes. Taking third was the team of Madeline Modjeski, Grace Nelson, Erica Beckman, and Anna McCormick.

In the 200 free our athletes went one, two, three. Anna MacLennan took first with her 2:09.96 finish. Wolner took a strong second place in 2:16.07 minutes, and Beckman placed third in 2:31.21 minutes. Erica’s time is almost 20 seconds faster than her previous best from 2020.

The 200 individual medley swimmers wanted to duplicate that success, and our girls raced to a one, two, four finish as Williams led the way with her 2:28.14 finish. Robison was strong with a 2:39.36 time, and Makayla Finnegan picked up a valuable fourth with her 3:02.61 race.

Pike continues to impress as she won the 50 free in 27.08 seconds. Madeline picked up a valuable fourth with her 28.33, and Erica Ruppert picked up the fifth spot with her 29.07 finish.

In diving, Ayanna King had a good first meet and finished second with her 133.40 score. Ashlyn Full had a great first meet as well with her 102.75 score, good for fifth place.

Faribault did not enter any swimmers for the 100 butterfly, so our girls competed and pushed each other to a one, two, three finish. Harper, Pike, and Kenley Jacobs took first, second, and third, respectively.

In the 100 freestyle, MacLennan raced to a first place finish with her 59.65 time. Robison barely missed second place by 0.21 seconds, finishing third with a time of 1:03.28. Hannah Benter is starting to turn heads and finished fourth in 1:11.48 minutes.

Nelson looks to be strong this season and won the 500 freestyle by over 30 seconds with her 6:10.51 finish. Ruppert again had a good swim and finished in second (6:45.43). McCormick is looking forward to crushing this first meet time of 6:50.86, which was good for third place.

Our 200 freestyle relay is going to be fun to watch for the rest of the season. We’re also only about six seconds away from a state cut. We finished first and second. Our A relay — Wolner, Pike, Williams, and MacLennan — won with a time of 1:48.13 minutes. Our B Relay — Benter, Ruppert, Ava Koopman, and Nelson — took second with a time of 2:00.72.

At this point in the meet we had earned enough points to seal the win, so the rest of the races were considered exhibition and did not score or place. Modjeski would have placed second in the 100 back with her 1:11.89 time. Beckman would have placed third with her 1:17.06, and Finnegan would have been fifth with her 1:19.26 finish.

Williams would have won the 100 breaststroke with her 1:16.65 time, Piper Jones would have taken fifth (1:39.74), and Koopman would have finished sixth (1:42.34).

The four-by-100 free relay ended the night with high expectations for the rest of the season. We would have won with a 4:10.97 time from the team of Robison, Modjeski, Nelson, and MacLennan. Our B relay — Ruppert, McCormick, Finnegan, and Beckman — would have taken third (4:33.11).