Mankato West sisters Danielle and Chantal Nack each won a pair of events and combined for a 200 free relay win at the class A (small schools) state championships in Minnesota.
Albert Lea’s star breaststroker Lindsey Horejsi won two events of her own, taking the 100 breast and 200 IM and breaking an MSHSL class A record in the IM.
Visitation took the team title, punctuated by wins in the 200 medley and 400 free relays which both broke class A state records at the meet, which took place Monday-Wednesday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Visitation kicked off the meet with a victory in the medley relay, barely touching out Albert Lea. Visitation’s team of Caroline Gaertner, Heather Farley, Emily Kish, and Lorelei Gaertner went 1:46.18 to Albert Lea’s 1:46.27. Albert Lea made a strong push in the breaststroke, where Lindsey Horejsi split 27.3, and then another charge led by anchor Anna Anderson (23.8). Joining them on the relay were Bailey Sandon and Ahnika Jensen. Visitation’s team was about a half-second off its own class A state record which it set in prelims.
Younger sister Chantal Nack, a junior, took the first event win for Mankato West when she went 1:50.08 in the 200 free. She was the third seed coming into finals, but cut an outstanding 4 seconds off her time to run away from the field. Thomasin Lee out of Chisago Lakes was second in 1:53.48 and Elisa Burgstahler third in 1:53.50.
Then Lindsey Horejsi was back in the pool to win the 200 IM in 2:02.66, just off her prelims time of 2:02.55 which was a new class A state record. (Minnesota keeps separate records for its two classes; Horejsi, a sophomore, is only about a second off of the All-Time Minnesota state record set by current Missouri swimmer Abby Duncan). Horejsi was followed closely by Visitation sophomore Abbie Dolan during the first 100, but took charge on the breaststroke leg. Dolan was significantly ahead of the rest of the field by that point and closed with the fastest freestyle split to take second in 2:04.53. The theme of the event was youth – another sophomore, Samantha Norton of Orono was third, and freshman Allyssa Phelps from Breck finished fourth.
After watching her younger sister pace the field in the 200 free, Danielle Nack was ready to leave her mark on the 2013 championships. She won the 50 free in a blazing 22.87. Nack is a senior who will stay in Minnesota to swim for the Golden Gophers. She set the class A state record last year as a junior and was .05 off that time this season. Two other seniors got under 24 seconds: Grand Rapids’ Solveig Viren (233.46) and Faribault’s Cecilia Hake (23.59).
Northfield junior Bailey DuPay successfully defended her state title in the 1-meter diving event, scoring 397.55 to win. Bemidji freshman Kylei Grosfield took second, edging out Grand Rapids junior Morgan Justus. The event should be tough again next year with 6 of the top 8 returning.
Danielle Nack won her second swimming event in a row in her signature race, the 100 butterfly. The Mankato West senior went 53.41 to win by over three seconds. Amazingly, she was still a full second off her time from 2012, which set the All-time Minnesota state record and was only a half-second off the national record. Second place was Marissa Warren of Litchfield, who went 56.78, and third place was Melrose junior Gabi Sawyer in 57.96.
IM runner-up Abbie Dolan came back to take the win in the 100 free – she went 50.04 in prelims to set a new class A state record and finished the win with a 50.31 at finals. That marks a huge improvement for Dolan, who was just 52.4 at this meet last year. Only a sophomore, she’ll have time to chase the All-time state record of 49.78. Defending champion Solveig Viren of Grand Rapids slipped to second, going 51.44, a few tenths off last year’s time. Third was Foley freshman Kasey Milstroh who went 52.20.
The 500 free was a back-and-forth affair for the full 20 laps, with Mankato West’s Chantal Nack battling Thomasin Lee of Chisago Lakes. At the finish, Nack managed to get her hand on the wall first, going 4:56.43 to Lee’s 4:56.48. The duo checked out from the field early on to renew their rivalry, with Nack getting revenge for last year when Lee snuck out to the win by just about a second.
Just a couple heats later, Nack was back, joining her sister Danielle and teammates Madison Bacon and Rachel Phinney to win the 200 free relay. University of Minnesota-bound Danielle was the biggest difference-maker, splitting 22.51 to run down Visitation for the win. (Watch Katrina Radke’s post-meet interview with the Nack sisters here).Visitation was second, getting a big leadoff split of 23.3 from Abbie Dolan. The fastest split of all, though, was Lindsey Horejsi, who took her Albert Lea team from 6th to 3rd, splitting 22.4.
Cecilia Hake of Faribault won the 100 backstroke, going 55.74, capping off a huge year – she broke 58 for the first time last fall at this meet. Second place, at just 14 years old, was Anna Ellis, an eighth-grader from Sartell. She went 57.13 and should be a name to watch in the future, swimming for the same high school that trained Minnesota high school stars Marissa Wood and Ellen Bloom. Visitation continued to pick up points with its depth as junior Caroline Gaertner took third. In the consolation heat, Spring Lake Park’s Sara Carmean broke the minute-barrier for the first time while dropping 1.6 seconds off her prelim swim to take 9th overall.
Albert Lea’s Lindsey Horejsi cruised to the win in the 100 breaststroke, defending her freshman-year title. The sophomore went 1:00.67, just a half-second off her prelims swim. She told SwimSwam after the meet that she wasn’t fully rested, and hopes to break a minute at junior nationals. (Watch Horejsi’s interview with Katrina Radke here). Visitation once again finished high – senior Heather Farley was second in 1:02.78, and Monticello sophomore Amber Eckstein took third, going 1:04.88.
Visitation capped off its meet by shattering the class A state record in the 400 free relay by almost a full second. The team of Caroline Gaertner, Lorelei Gaertner, Emily Connors and Abbie Dolan went 3:29.54, led by Dolan’s monster anchor leg of 49.38. The team is made up of two sophomores, a freshman and a senior, so Visitation should still be a major factor in this event moving forward. They beat out Mankato West, which again got big splits from the Nack sisters, and Sartell, which finished third overall and returns all four members.
Top 5 Teams
1. Visitation, Mendota Heights 300
2. Mankato West 168
3. Sartell St.Stephen 161
4. Hutchinson 131
5. Albert Lea 130