WILLMAR — What a day in the pool for Delano Nov. 11 at the Section 3A Championships at Willmar High School. The Tigers enjoyed their most successful section meet to date, qualifying 12 entries and eight different swimmers in nine events for this weekend’s Class A state tournament at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Delano captured four section championships.
The queen of the pool was Delano senior Jordyn Wentzel, who ruled the water en route to four state berths, three section championships, two pool records and two section records.
For her work, Wentzel was named the Section 3A Swimmer of the Year.
Wentzel took the breath away from everybody in the pool area during her 500-yard freestyle swim, where she glided to the finish and touched the wall at the remarkable time of 4:59.86 seconds.
Wentzel’s big finish broke her own section record of 5:09.51, set a year ago, by more than nine seconds, and broke the Willmar pool record of 5:10.20, set in 2008 by Marissa Wood, by more than 10 seconds.
Wentzel’s teammate, junior Morgan Frank, who, swimming in a neighboring lane, finished third in the event (5:13.14) and also qualified for state, appeared to be more excited than Wentzel, bearing a huge smile on her face as she reached over the lane divider to give the new record-holder a big hug.
Wentzel was perfect on her own, as she also won the section title in the 100 breaststroke, where her time was 1:04.57.
Wentzel’s first section championship and record-breaking swim of the afternoon came in the meet’s first event, with three teammates in the 200 medley relay.
Seventh-grader Emma Kern, who made more noise later, started the race with the backstroke, followed by Wentzel in the breaststroke, freshman Laila Rosenow in the butterfly and senior Lauren York in the freestyle. The four combined for an almost-perfect race, York touching the wall at the pool and section record time of 1:47.44.
The old mark for both the pool and section was 1:48.13 set by an Orono quartet in 2015.
The win and record time in the medley relay showed the other 10 teams, especially Hutchinson, that Delano was for real. Hutchinson finished second by more than three seconds with the time of 1:50.75.
Delano reserved two more state spots in the next race, the 200 freestyle, where Frank and freshman Kylie Strobl finished third and fourth, respectively, with state-qualifying times of 1:56.57 and 1:58.63.
Hutchinson’s Lexi Kucera won the event with the time of 1:54.04. Her teammate, Hailey Farrell, finished second with the time of 1:55.60.
Kern put herself farther up on the section and state list with state-qualifying swims on either side of the diving competition. She preceded diving with a second-place swim in the 50 freestyle (24.28) and followed diving with a section championship in the 100 butterfly (59.13).
Rosenow also qualified for state in the butterfly, finishing fourth with the state-qualifying time of 59.84 seconds.
Just six events into her first section meet, Kern had already punched her ticket to state in three events. After nine events, she was a perfect 4-for-4.
That ninth event was the 200 freestyle relay, which turned out to be the closest race of the afternoon.
Hutchinson won the 200 relay with the pool and section record time of 1:37.88. The Delano foursome of Kern, York, Frank and Wentzel finished second by 9 hundredths of a second. Wentzel touched the wall at 1:37.97.
Hutchinson and Delano were two of six teams who swam a state-qualifying time in the 200 relay. The others were Willmar (1:40.83), Mound-Westonka/Holy Family (1:41.00), Waconia (1:41.06) and Orono (1:41.56).
The qualifying swim in the 200 freestyle relay made Kern the first Tiger to qualify for state in four events. Two events later, Wentzel notched her fourth berth with her win in the breaststroke.
Frank joined the 4-for-4 club in the meet’s final event, the 400 freestyle relay, where she and teammates Emily Bobick, Rosenow and Strobl finished second with the time of 3:37.70.
Hutchinson won the 400 with the record time of 3:35.84.
The 400 was the third event in which Rosenow qualified for state, the second for Strobl, and the first for Bobick.
For Rosenow, it followed her qualifying swims in the medley relay and butterfly. In her other event, Rosenow won the consolation heat of the 50 freestyle (25.10).
The second-place finish in the 400 was complimented by the fourth-place finish in the 200 freestyle for Strobl. She missed the cut in the 500, where she finished fifth with the time of 5:27.63.
Bobick also swam in the finals heat of the 100 freestyle, where she finished seventh with the non-qualifying time of 56.36 seconds.
York finished eighth in the 100 with the time of 56.37 seconds.
Delano’s other state-qualifier was junior Claire Palmer, who just got under the cut time of 1:01.65 with her 1:01.58 and fourth place in the 100 backstroke.
Hutchinson’s Mikayla Witte won the backstroke with the time of 59.90 seconds.
Hutchinson won the section team championship with 490 points. Delano finished second with 365.
For their work in building the Delano team into one of the best in the section, two Delano coaches were honored with awards.
Karen Shallbetter shared the honor of Section 3A Coach of the Year with Hutchinson’s Rory Fairbanks, and Delano’s Matt Strobl was named Section 3A Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Class A state meet begins Wednesday at noon with the preliminary rounds of diving. The swimming preliminary round is Friday at noon. The swimming and diving finals are Saturday at noon.
Looking ahead at the swimming prelims, Delano’s section time in the 200 medley relay tops all other times posted by qualifying teams.
Delano’s 200 freestyle relay time of 1:37.97 is second to Hutchinson’s 1:37.88. These are the only two times under 1:39.
In the 400 relay, Hutchinson’s 3:35.84 is second best and Delano’s 3:37.70 is fourth best. Blake holds the top time of 3:35.52, and Visitation is third with the time of 3:36.00.
Wentzel holds the top times in both the 500 (4:59.86) and 100 breaststroke (1:04.57) by a wide margin.
Wentzel’s 4:59.86 in the 500 is almost nine seconds faster than the second-place time of 5:08.79 swum by Visitation’s Sophie Kishish.
Orono’s Caroline Gardner (1:05.16), who finished second to Wentzel at the section meet, and Sartell’s Betsy Weil (1:05.74) are the only other breaststroker to enter with a time under 1:06.
Kern, Delano’s other section champion, will have some work to do at the state meet in the butterfly, as her section-best 59.13 ranks eighth heading into the race.
Blake’s Madison Potter holds the top time of 55.10 seconds.
SECTION 3A CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, Nov. 11
Willmar High School
Teams: 1. Hutchinson 490; 2. Delano 365; 3. Orono 271; 4. Dassel-Cokato 244.5; 5. Waconia 227; 6. Willmar 164; 7. Mound-Westonka/Holy Family 151; 8. Marshall 145.5; 9. Litchfield 83; 10. Montevideo 58; 11. Watertown-Mayer 36.
State-qualifiers and Delano swimmers: 200 medley relay: 1. Delano (Kern, Wentzel, Rosenow, L. York), 1:47.44; 2. Hutchinson, 1:50.75; 3. Orono, 1:51.11; 4. Dassel-Cokato, 1:53.36; 5. Waconia, 1:53.59. 200 freestyle: 1. Kucera (H), 1:54.04; 2. Ferrell (H), 1:55.60; 3. Frank (D), 1:56.57; 4. K. Strobl (D), 1:58.63; 5. O. Travis (DC), 1:58.88. 200 individual medley: 1. Gardner (O), 2:11.99; 2. Mezera (H), 2:12.28; 3. Thompson (O), 2:13.18; 4. Witte (H), 2:13.70; 5. Dobratz (H), 2:16.09; 10. Palmer (D), 2:19.39; 11. Bobick (D), 2:21.54; 15. S. Strobl (D), 2:24.00. 50 freestyle: 1. Hanson (H), 23.96; 2. Kern (D), 24.28; 3. Bentz (M), 24.29; 4. Bartell (W), 24.42; 5. Storm (MW), 24.66; 9. Rosenow (D), 25.10; 10. L. York (D), 25.17; 14. Benker (D), 25.75. Diving: 1. Schramm (Wil), 418.50; 2. Welsh (Wil), 364.30; 3. Nelson (DC), 352.45; 4. Olsen (DC), 340.85. 100 butterfly: 1. Kern (D), 59.13; 2. Thompson (O), 59.37; 3. LaZarre (DC), 59.46; 4. Rosenow (D), 59.84; 5. Witte (H), 1:00.20; 6. Thovson (H), 1:00.54; 14. S. Strobl (D), 1:05.20. 100 freestyle: 1. Kucera (H), 52.19; 2. Bentz (M), 53.24; 3. Hanson (H), 53.74; 4. Bartell (W), 53.89; 5. Storm (MW), 54.58; 7. Bobick (D), 56.36; 8. L. York (D), 56.37; 13. Benker (D), 57.20; 14. S. York (D), 57.67. 500 freestyle: 1. Wentzel (D), 4:59.86; 2. Farrell (H), 5:11.85; 3. Frank (D), 5:13.14; 4. Fritz (O), 5:20.51; 5. K. Strobl (D), 5:27.63. 200 freestyle relay: 1. Hutchinson, 1:37.88; 2. Delano (Kern, L. York, Frank, Wentzel), 1:37.97; 3. Willmar, 1:40.83; 4. Mound-Westonka/Holy Family, 1:41.00; 5. Waconia, 1:41.06; 6. Orono, 1:41.56. 100 backstroke: 1. Witte (H), 59.90; 2. Brecht (H), 1:00.34; 3. O. Travis (DC), 1:00.46; 4. Palmer (D), 1:01.58; 11. Benker (D), 1:05.13; 16. Verhey (D), 1:11.33. 100 breaststroke: 1. Wentzel (D), 1:04.57; 2. Gardner (O), 1:05.16; 13. Jacobs (D), 1:15.16. 400 freestyle relay: 1. Hutchinson, 3:35.84; 2. Delano (Frank, Bobick, Rosenow, K. Strobl), 3:37.70; 3. Mound-Westonka/HF, 3:42.16; 4. Waconia, 3:42.74; 5. Dassel-Cokato, 3:44.65.