During training periods, St. Catherine swimmer Jordyn Wentzel is focused on one thing.

“My main focus is my times I have set for myself,” said Wentzel (photo above by Jack Boder), “but when I get to the meet, it is also about who you are up against.”

If this week had gone as planned, Wentzel and Denison (Ohio) swimmer Katherine (K.T.) Kustritz, a St. Paul native, would have battled for the NCAA Division III women’s 100 and 200 breaststroke titles.

Wentzel, the two-time MIAC women’s swimmer of the year, was the runner-up to Kustritz in each event last year. At the MIAC championships in February, Wentzel set a Division III record in the 200 breaststroke. Kustritz, who holds the record in the 100 breaststroke, is a five-time NCAA champion and 20-time All-American.

But the Division III swimming championships, which were scheduled to begin Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C., and all other NCAA championship meets were canceled last week over coronavirus concerns.

“I, of course, was disappointed when I heard the news that the meet was canceled,” said Wentzel, a sophomore from Delano. “But I still have two more years, and many more opportunities to swim where many don’t.”

One of those is Kistrutz, who is a senior.

“I was really looking forward to racing against K.T.,” said Wentzel. “I love to race and the competition is just all that more motivating. K.T. is a wonderful competitor and she will be missed by everyone next year.”

The NCAA meet was going to complete a successful season for Wentzel and St. Catherine. The Wildcats, who had earned their first MIAC championship and were ranked No. 11 in Division III, had qualified seven individuals for the national meet. Wentzel had qualified in six events — four individual and two relay teams. Wentzel was a four-time All-American at last year’s NCAA meet.

The Wildcats overcame some midseason adversity to finish strong.

“This season had its challenges, for sure,” said Wentzel. “One of them being that basically all of us got the flu after we came back from Christmas break and many had to take a week off during the most important part of our season training-wise.”

Wentzel, who was a five-year member of the Delano varsity and a three-time champion at the state meet, said she’s “looking forward to this next season, and it just makes me even more motivated to swim faster because that opportunity was taken away from me this year.”

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