Big splashes at small schools swim meet
Bay, Shorewood, Brown Deer all finish in top six
The State Small Schools swim meet was created to give those types of teams a chance at medals and trophies that wouldn't be available to them if they were going up against larger and stronger squads.
But don't let anyone tell these coaches that the competition is any less intense than at the larger meets.
Take coach Jim Davis of the Whitefish Bay girls team, whose 400-free relay overachieved at the end of the latest meet Saturday and then got help in the final heat of the event to give the Blue Dukes third in the final standings.
"Madison Edgewood had an edge on us, but we really wanted to get into the top three, because they give out trophies to the top three (teams)," he said. "It was a great dramatic finish for us because we didn't really expect it because we were without Lissy Maercklein (one of the Blue Dukes' top swimmers).
"We just really stayed focused on racing."
Going stroke for stroke
And the same could have been said for host Shorewood (fifth) and Brown Deer/University School (sixth), both of whom also had major highlights. All three schools will use their finishes as impetus into their respective conference meets Oct. 30.
"I look at our 400 relay and for 300 yards we were stroke for stroke with those great teams from Sturgeon Bay and Plymouth. That was pretty good," said BD/USM coach Bob Van Lieshout. "We're really coming in flying under the radar and feeling very good as we head into the stretch."
"Kristin Malone and Melissa Claussen showed no fear as freshmen racing many of the top schools in our division," said Shorewood coach Rob McCabe. "I have to keep reminding myself that this team is all freshmen and sophomores."
Bay scored 189 points as Sturgeon Bay won with 302.5 and Plymouth was second with 282.5 in the 16-team field. Shorewood scored 180 points for its spot while the Falcons had 156.
The Blue Dukes' best individual finishes were thirds from Annelise Sprau in the 100 butterfly (1:00.52) and Sarah Olver in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.44).
That aforementioned 400 free relay team of Sabrina Raber, Annie Vellon, Caroline Kucha and Sprau was sixth in an effective 3:56.22 while the 200 medley relay team of Ali Stewart, Olver, Sprau and Kucha was fourth (1:56.85), and Olver was fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:19.67).
"It was an outstanding meet for us," said Davis. "Just a great confidence builder. … We had 18 individual entries and 14 of them scored."
Shorewood fires up
For Shorewood, it was a matter of individual firepower again, as Ellen Stello won the 500 free (5:15.18) in a race that McCabe thought was perfectly paced. She was also second in the 200 individual medley (2:14.8) as was Malone in the 50 free (24.88). Malone was also fourth in the 100 free (54.43).
The Greyhounds 400 free relay was second (3:49.09), just 0.04 off of a season best while the 200 medley crew of Genevieve Hayes, Malone, Stello and Clausen was third in a season best of 1:55.05.
"Considering their (heavy) workload, we had a mixed bag of results," said McCabe, "but we still had many fine races."
Diving in for Brown Deer
Meanwhile, for the Falcons, their divers got them off to a spectacular start as Lauren Isnard earned second (336.55) while Emily Melvin was seventh (281.4), both personal bests.
In the pool, Kim Roos was third in the 500 free (5:26.81), while the 200 free relay team of Caroline Bridges, Roos, Blaire Bancroft and Danielle Gross was fifth (1:47.57). That same group earned the same spot in the 400 free (3:54.89).
Bridges was seventh in both the 100 (56.5) and the 50 free (25.73).
Van Lieshout was pleased with the entire effort.
"The kids have really bought into the whole team concept," he said. "They're really taking pride in their efforts."
And he really bought into the spirit and camaraderie of the meet when he mentioned the following:
"Man, the Woodland Conference meet is going to be so great," he said. "What if Jim (Davis) and his kids (from Bay) would be able to compete in it too? (the Blue Dukes belong to the North Shore)," he said. "That would just be a hoot!"
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