Girls Varsity Swimming · White Hawks Swimmers Receive All-State Honors, Break Records at State Championships

2019 state swim team
State swim team (from left): Annie Springer, Annabelle Elsner, Ellen Ries, Ava Kittleson, Zella Lucas, Jaylyn Storm, Kate Johnston and Alyssa Bourdon

By Lindsey Storm

The Mound Westonka/Holy Family White Hawks sent eight swimmers to the state championships held Nov. 14-16 at the University of Minnesota Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center. The team qualified for the state meet in all three relays, and two White Hawks swimmers qualified in three individual events. The team walked away from this meet with three new Mound Westonka High School records and five new Holy Family records; and with two relays and one individual in the Minnesota Top 8, earning All-State honors. The team placed 10th out of 46 teams.

Preliminaries were held on Thursday. Only the Top 16 in each event get to advance to the finals on Friday, so the pressure was on. Swimmers who place in the Top 8 at prelims get to swim in the championship heat and are guaranteed to place in the Top 8 at finals. Swimmers who place 9-16th at prelims qualify to swim in the consolation heat at finals, and they cannot advance any higher than ninth place even if they get a faster time than someone in the championship heat.

Two White Hawks relays made the championship heat and advanced in the Top 8 at finals. The Top 8 are awarded medals and are recognized on the podium. They also receive All-State honors and are invited to the All-State banquet in the spring.

The 200 freestyle relay team of ninth-grader Jaylyn Storm, sophomore Annie Springer, sophomore Ellen Ries and junior Alyssa Bourdon broke a school record for Mound Westonka and Holy Family at prelims with a time of 1.39.45. This team placed seventh at finals, earning the swimmers All-State honors.

The 400 freestyle relay team of junior Ava Kittleson, Ries, Springer and ninth-grader Zella Lucas also broke a school records for both Mound Westonka and Holy Family in prelims with a time of 3.38.12. This team went even faster at finals, earning themselves seventh place and All-State honors with a record-breaking time of 3.37.85.

The 200 IM Relay team of senior Annabelle Elsner (backstroke), ninth-grader Kate Johnston (breaststroke), Lucas (butterfly) and Storm (freestyle) set new records for Mound Westonka and Holy Family with a time of 1.50.21. They were out-touched by two teams by .14 and .15 seconds and missed getting All-State honors by one place, placing ninth in prelims.

Even though the White Hawks won the 200 IM relay consolation heat and swam faster than two of the Top 8 teams at finals, they were not able to place higher than ninth place because of the meet structure. Last year, this same relay team placed 17th at state.

Elsner earned her individual spot in finals in the 100 backstroke. At the section meet, Elsner broke Shae Braden’s Holy Family record that was set in 2015. Elsner swam even faster at the state meet and broke her own Holy Family school record with a new time of 59.57, earning her 13th place at state.

Lucas earned her individual spot in the Top 8 in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle. Lucas broke her own Holy Family school record in the 100 Fly (56.16) and earned All-State honors by placing fifth in finals. Lucas also placed second at prelims in the 500 Free. Unfortunately, she was disqualified in the final heat due to a false start.

This marks the end of the season for the White Hawks girls swimming and diving team. The team will be meeting one last time to hand in their parkas and vote for team awards and next year’s captains. The team will be celebrating their record breaking season at the banquet at the Lafayette Club on Saturday, Dec. 7.