State prep girls swimming preview: Superior swimmer near finish line

The Wisconsin state girls swim meet is this weekend in Madison, and Superior senior Kaitlin Heinen can't wait. For it to be over. That's not entirely true, but the exercise fiend does admit that a reduced workload ahead of the sectional and state...

Superior High School swimmer Kaitlin Heinen, who has set a lot of records, takes a break Tuesday at the Wisconsin-Superior swimming pool. (Clint Austin /

The Wisconsin state girls swim meet is this weekend in Madison, and Superior senior Kaitlin Heinen can’t wait.
For it to be over.
That’s not entirely true, but the exercise fiend does admit that a reduced workload ahead of the sectional and state meets - known as “tapering” - has been a brutal experience.
“I want to go out and do something. I want to go run or go lift or something like that, but … taper,” she said after warming up Tuesday at the Wisconsin-
Superior pool. “I know next week I can do whatever I want, so I just have to make it through to then and not bounce off the walls too much.”
Such is the price Heinen has to pay for being so fast. Every time she’s entered a pool this fall, it seems, a record has fallen. Pool records, program records, conference records - none of ’em have been safe. That includes the Division 1 sectional meet Saturday in Hudson, Wis., where Heinen swam to Superior records in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500 freestyle.
In the 200, her time of
1 minute, 54.89 seconds was 5 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. And in the 500, Heinen finished in 5:10.47, almost good enough to surpass Superior’s boys record and a stunning 12.5 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
(Twelve seconds doesn’t sound like much until you count it off in your head and realize that’s how much time elapsed while Heinen waited for the next swimmer to touch.)

“Records are fun, but what I’m concerned about is my best times and where I compare in my section and our conference,” Heinen said.
Heinen qualified for the state meet in both the 200 and 500 freestyle races, which are Saturday at the Natatorium on the University of Wisconsin campus. She’s seeded 10th out of 24 in both events.
Heinen is swimming her best at the end of the season after Spartans coach George Lehman altered her training regimen this fall. Her yardage is down, but her intensity’s up, meaning Heinen isn’t swimming quite as much as she did, say, last year, but she’s swimming harder. If Heinen has two workouts in a day - typically Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays - she will swim between 8,000 and 10,000 yards.
Somehow, Lehman got Heinen to buy into the “less is more” mantra.
“She just likes to exercise,” the longtime coach said. “She’s one of these people that, you talk about a runner’s high, she really, really takes a lot of convincing to get her to slow down at the end of the season and rest for the meets.”
In addition to the 200 and 500 freestyles, Heinen owns program records in the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and as part of 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. And she’s tops in the Lake Superior Conference in five of those.
Heinen, who plans to swim collegiately at either Northern Michigan or St. Cloud State, has accomplished all of it even as she and the rest of the Spartan swimmers endured a nomadic fall after Superior’s pool was closed Sept. 29 because of flooding in the school basement. Swimmers practiced at UWS; the team’s divers did the same in Duluth.
It was at Proctor’s pool that Lehman says his star pupil received a jolt.
“At the start of the season, she got a kick in the tail by Megan Mensinger from Proctor, who, in their 20-yard pool, narrowly beat Kaitlin” in the 500 free, the coach said. “That kind of really put Kaitlin on notice.”
She’s responded in record-setting fashion.

  • The Minnesota state meet gets underway today at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Morgan Justus of Grand Rapids is among the favorites in Class A 1-meter diving after finishing third a year ago. The two divers that finished ahead of her - Bailey DuPay of Northfield and Bemidji’s Kylei Grosfield - also return this year. Justus’ qualifying score of 483.30 is second, behind DuPay (486.35) and ahead of Grosfield (469.45).
The Class A diving preliminaries start at noon today, with the finals scheduled for noon Friday.

  • Northland entrants to qualify in multiple individual events include Proctor-Hermantown’s Mensinger (200 and 500 freestyle); Two Harbors’ Leann Fynboh (50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke); Two Harbors’ Alison Mayfield (200 and 500 freestyle); Mesabi East’s Anna Johnson (200 and 500 freestyle); Grand Rapids’ Maddie Bernard (100 freestyle and 200 individual medley); Grand Rapids’ Annalie Marinucci (200 individual medley and 100 butterfly); Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Makayla Suominen (50 freestyle and 100 freestyle); Mesabi East’s Isabelle Kalb (100 backstroke and 100 freestyle); and Duluth East’s Alissa Marlow (50 freestyle and 100 freestyle).

Northland State Meet Qualifiers

Class AA


50 freestyle - Alissa Marlow, Duluth East, 25.01; 100 freestyle -Marlow, 54.35.
Class A

200 medley relay - Grand Rapids, 1:55.32; Mesabi East, 1:55.68; 200 freestyle - Megan Mensinger, Proctor-Hermantown, 1:58.94; Anna Johnson, Mesabi East, 2:02.86; Alison Mayfield, Two Harbors, 2:04.36; 200 individual medley - Maddie Bernard, Grand Rapids, 2:18.69; Annalie Marinucci, Grand Rapids, 2:21.38; 50 freestyle - Makayla Suominen, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 24.95; Leann Fynboh, Two Harbors, 25.59; Bailey Kinnunen, Grand Rapids, 25.93; 1-meter diving - Morgan Justus, Grand Rapids, 483.30; Amanda Hernesman, Grand Rapids, 413.15; Mallory Jarvi, Virginia, 373.5; Rachel Krulc, Virginia, 353.15; 100 butterfly - Marinucci, 1:03.61; Kate Bustrom, Grand Rapids, 1:04.02; 100 freestyle - Bernard, 54.96; Suominen, 54.99; Isabelle Kalb, Mesabi East, 56.98; 500 freestyle - Mensinger, 5:17.93; Mayfield, 5:33.49; Johnson, 5:36.29; 100 breaststroke - Hailee Jofs, Mesabi East, 1:09.77; Fynboh, 1:11.48; 400 freestyle relay - Grand Rapids, 3:46.86; Mesabi East, 3:49.79.

swim state
Superior High School's Kaitlin Heinen swims underwater at the Wisconsin-Superior swimming pool on Tuesday. (Clint Austin /

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