by Coach Chris Mayer
The Winhawk boys’ swim and dive team won its first dual meet of the season versus Mankato West, 92 to 84. We had some big shoes to fill — and a few swimmers out sick — and our guys rose to the challenge. Co-captain Jared Loos gave a wonderful pre-meet speech about our team becoming a lion. We may appear a bit weak at times, but lions know they have the power to perform well and be kings of their respective area (or pool).
We began the meet with a strong medley relay, consisting of Colin White, Matthew Bricco, Jared Loos, and Elijah Vieth. They won the event in 1:45.79 minutes, just above the state qualifying time of 1:44. This should be a great relay for us and one that will hopefully make state at the section meet in February.
In the 200 freestyle, Elijah, Cordel Ruppert, and Matthew Baumgartner finished first, second and third, respectively, with times of 2:03.76, 2:06.23, and 2:18.68.
Jared and Matthew Bricco dueled each other in the 200 individual medley. Earlier that day, both boys were curious who would win. Jared has the superior fly, Matthew the better breaststroke. They both have a great backstroke. So we said it would be a fight to the finish in the freestyle portion. Jared pulled ahead at the end to win, 2:17.93 to Matthew’s 2:18.02. They were joined by new seventh grader Quinn Wangberg, who placed fifth (2:37.64).
Kyle Coudron led the charge for us in the 50 freestyle, an event he normally wouldn’t swim. With people out sick, Kyle drew the sprinting straw. He turned in a new personal best for third place with his 25.99. Gus Menton blazed a new personal best as well with his 28.44, taking fifth place.
Jared commanded the win in the 100 butterfly with his speedy 1:04.89 performance. Cam Hancock has improved greatly and just missed scoring second place in the race, finishing in 1:09.98 to Mankato’s 1:09.32. Carson Prodzinski, who has worked relentlessly in the offseason to improve, scored the valuable fifth position with his 1:15.37.
Colin blasted a 51.80-second 100 freestyle win, easily showing the Big 9 and section who the dominant 100 freestyler will be this season. Kyle again had another great sprinting race as he placed fifth with a 57.52.
Elijah and Cordel joined forces again in the 500 and cruised to a 1-2 finish with their 5:30.78 and 5:44.03 swims, respectively. Finn Momsen was sick earlier this week with that dang flu but raced strong and earned himself fourth place (6:51.63).
Kyle joined up with Matthew Baumgartner, Cam, and Cordel to secure a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:46.08. We figured going into the season this would be one of our weaker events; however, after watching these four last night, I was very impressed.
Colin had another strong race, winning the 100 backstroke in 57.75. Tyler Bergler picked up the valuable fifth position with his 1:13.29.
In breaststroke, Matthew Bricco went head-to-head with West’s Sullivan Jacobs, who was a state qualifier last year and enters this year as the seventh best in the state. Matthew almost caught him at the end (second place, 1:07.13), with a time that crushed his personal best. Hopefully, Matthew continues the progress all season, and we see him race with the best at state as well. Matthew Baumgartner narrowly touched out a West swimmer for fourth place with his 1:18.61 to Mankato West’s 1:18.69.
Before the 400 freestyle relay, we led 82-80. Our guys knew they needed to win the event to secure the meet win. The guys pumped each other up and went after the win. Jared swam a strong 55 and turned it over to Elijah, who raced a blisteringly fast 52-second time, almost a new personal best. Colin was third and swam a 52 as well, handing the race to Matthew Bricco to seal the deal. Matthew was a bit tired after that 100 breaststroke, but closed the race with a 55 of his own and touched in 3:36.07, a great race and win. Our B relay, the team of Cordel Ruppert, Cam Hancock, Tyler Bergler, and Logan Monk, was in on the action and took third with a very impressive 4:09.28.
What a great first meet of the season! We saw great performances from our top-end guys and some big eye-openers from younger athletes who want to fill some shoes this season. We’re looking forward to a great season!