Carly Quast can smile even bigger. Madison Preiss won’t have to be nervous about being nervous. And the rest of Wayzata’s 13-member contingent had little trouble finding their own ways to celebrate after the Trojans won their third straight Class 2A team championship Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center.
Wayzata finished with 315.5 team points, well ahead of runner-up Minnetonka’s 256. Edina finished third with 246.
That all three teams were members of the Lake Conference is no surprise. Teams from the league have taken the top two spots in the meet for six straight seasons.
“These girls all swim on the same club teams and compete against each other all the time,” Wayzata coach Elizabeth Hansen said. “We all feed off each other.”
Wayzata’s victory come on the strength of two victories each from the always-smiling Quast, who took home gold medals in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and Preiss, who overcame her usual nervousness (“I literally have to have a bucket next to me before a race, just in case,” she said) to win her third straight 200 individual medley and added the 100 backstroke. Both swam on the winning 200 medley relay team.
“This is so much fun,” said Preiss, who has signed with Minnesota. “I wasn’t quite as nervous this time.”
Still another record
Edina junior Rachel Wittmer broke her own state-meet record in the 50 freestyle with a winning time of 22.54, beating her year-old mark of 22.62. She also won the 100 butterfly in a time of 53.99, more than a second ahead of the runner-up. The secret to her success? Yells. Lots of them.
“I just heard my teammates screaming for me, and I think that’s what makes the difference. It gets me so motivated,” Wittmer said.
Her 50 freestyle time was less than a second off the national record. Dare she dream?
“A second is a long time for this style,” Wittmer said. “But why not?”
Strong start to victory
For the second time in the meet, Michelle Schlossmacher Smith used a strong start to top the rest of the field. This time, it meant a championship.
The Roseville sophomore pulled out her best on her first dive in the finals, a back pike, and rode that momentum to hold off a late charge by Rochester Century’s Adrianna Jacobs, winning her first 1-Meter diving championship with a score of 442.05, less than two points ahead of Jacobs.
Schlossmacher Smith took the same path in Wednesday’s prelims, starting with a strong dive en route to a 20-point lead.
“It feels like all of my hard work with everyone who has worked with me or helped ,” Schlossmacher Smith said.
Making school history
The adjustment was minor, but it was enough to propel Andover junior Bella Smits to the 100 freestyle championship. She beat a deep field that had four swimmers bunched within two-tenths of each other in the preliminaries, winning in a time of 50.40, becoming the first state champion swimmer in school history.
“In prelims, I thought my turns were a little slow, so I concentrated on them,” said Smith. “This is amazing. I never dreamed of being a state high school champion.”
Growing up, Albert Lea’s Lindsey Horejsi remembers looking up to the older swimmers in the state meet. “Abbey Staats,” Horejsi recalled. “She was from Winona. I remember gawking at her and thinking, ‘Wow’ ”
Now a senior, Horejsi is the icon, the focus of attention from young swimmers. On Friday she won the 50 freestyle in a Class 1A record time of 22.79 and the 100 breaststroke in 58.66 — one-tenth of a second off the national high school record for the event that she set in Thursday’s preliminaries. She also swam on Albert Lea’s winning 200 medley relay team.
“Just yesterday, even before I suited up, I heard someone say, ‘There she is,’ ” said Horejsi, who has signed to swim at Minnesota. “At first I thought it was a teammate, but it was younger girl looking at me. That’s pretty cool.”
Despite Horejsi’s impressive showing, Visitation won the Class 1A team championship for the third consecutive year. The deep and talented Blazers, led by four first-place finishes by senior Abbie Dolan, won comfortably with a team total of 312 points. Breck was second with 238 and Albert Lea third with 194.
For Dolan, it was a fitting finish to a storied career. She won the 100 freestyle for the third consecutive year in 49.62, just off her year-old meet-record time of 49.60, and the 200 freestyle (1:48.10). She also swam on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
Dolan and Horejsi, the two biggest names in the meet, stood next to each other on the blocks in the 400 relay, waiting their turn to swim the anchor legs in the final race of the meet.
“I knew she was there,” Dolan said. “She’s such a strong swimmer that I just wanted to focus on what I needed to do and swim my race.”
Dolan, who will swim at Notre Dame next year, said the Blazers had their best meet of the season when it counted most. “I’m more passionate about my high school team than for any other team I’m on,” she said. “Everyone on our team was getting best times, which added a lot of excitement. Our success here and throughout the season just culminated here.”
• Second-place Breck had three first-place finishes. Senior Bre Thorne won her second consecutive 100 butterfly championship in 56.49 and added 100 backstroke title (56.09). Junior Alyssa Phelps won the 200 individual medley in a time of 2:07.13. It was her fifth state meet appearance in the event.