11/17/2017 10:52:00 AM Gorski and Stec headed to state for Chisago Lakes swim and dive
Being in a girls swimming section with Visitation and Hill Murray essentially makes Chisago Lakes’ section a mini state tournament.
The completion is so fierce and so high caliber that it’s tough to get swimmers through to the actual state tournament, but the Wildcats got one swimmer and one diver out of the stacked Section 4A over the weekend.
Junior Savannah Gorski finished in third place in diving with a score of 316.95, and senior Hannah Stec came in third in the 100 breaststroke to qualify. She needed a low qualifying time since swimming events typically only qualify two competitors while diving qualifies four. But Stec beat the automatic time and earned her spot despite the third place finish.
Stec’s time was an amazing performance. She dropped four seconds off of her personal best in the prelims, and then went faster in finals. That’s a massive improvement in such a short amount of time.
Gorski’s score was comfortably ahead of fourth place Jenna Whitehead’s 296.95. She finished just 10 points behind Visitation’s Kapani Kirkland in second place. Bella Mascia, also of Vis, ran away with the diving title with 359 points. “Both Savannah and Hannah had outstanding performances,” Head Coach Ellen Heath said. “Their determination, discipline, and hard work toward those season end goals certainly paid off at the section meet. We are so proud of all accomplishments of our swimmers and divers, and especially joyous about our state qualifiers.”
Heath touched on the difficulty of the section, saying, “Each team can enter up to four participants per event. We have some of the top swimmers and divers in the state in our section and it takes a lot of focus and discipline and talent to break though and qualify for state.”
She noted that not only did Vis win the state title last year in Class A, Hill Murray finished fourth.
But, they aren’t always just swimming for themselves, either. “We talk a lot to our team about how an athlete can control only focus and performance and that your goal as the standard, is what you set for yourself. Base your training off that goal - you can't control the water temperature... if your competitor is taller; they have home pool advantage or who is on the block next to you, or who is diving before you get on the board,” Heath explained. “You are racing and diving for your team, your school, your community, and not necessarily against another swimmer or diver.”
Other notable performances from the section included eighth grader Sophie Janzig medaling for the second year in a row in diving. Katie Crum set a personal best in the 100 butterfly, and Abby Gangl dropped four seconds from her personal best in the backstroke. “When you look at time drops from seed to prelims then to finals, we had one of the better tapers of teams at sections,” Heath said.
Heath was also named a co-Section Coach of the Year with Hill Murray and Visitation’s coaches. “It’s cool that other teams are recognizing our athletic skill,” she said of the honor.
The state tournament will be held from November 16-18. Gorski’s first round of diving will be at noon Thursday, November 16 and Stec’s first heat will be on Friday, November 17 at noon. Finals are on Saturday, November 18 beginning at noon should either one advance.