Nicolet sprint swim invite offers a burst of freedom for area athletes
Meet is known as unconventional
The grind of the heavy training season is fully under way for girls swimmers and they look for any way they can to relieve the monotony of the endless laps.
Coming to their rescue, for at least a week anyway, is Nicolet coach Dwight Davis and his annual Sprint Invitational that was held Saturday with all five area North Shore girls teams involved.
Eight-girl relays, 10-girl relays and 50-yard races — this is a sprinter's and a nonconformist's delight.
To say the swimmers look forward to it is like asking a dog what he thinks of a juicy steak, because both the meet and the steak are gone before anyone has a chance to blink (the 12-event clocked in at a brisk two hours and 15 minutes).
"It's interesting," Brown Deer/University School coach Bob Van Lieshout said. "You tell the girls everybody gets to pick one event they get to try. Everyone gets a shot at trying something different, and then before you know it, you may find out something good about your kid when all she was trying to do was to have fun."
Davis designed the meet years ago specifically as a break from the same old routine of events that everyone sees at every meet. He runs the meet in both the fall for the girls and the winter for the boys.
"The kids just have so much fun," Bay coach Jim Davis said. "All the different events, all the different people you get to use on relays. The kids are happy to come to this meet."
The meet was a little different in another way, coming just three days after the North Shore Conference relays, which Bay, Nicolet and Homestead took part in, so the athletes were really looking forward to some kind of break.
The unconventional state of the meet continued in the fact that almost all of the teams were missing people due to ACT testing and college visits. Still, as mentioned, everyone had a lot of fun.
Madison West won with 561/2 points as Homestead took second in the nine-team field with 2891/2, Bay was third with 2651/2, Nicolet fourth (2471/2), Shorewood sixth (1931/2) and Brown Deer/USM eighth with 104.
Both Bay and Nicolet took two firsts each as Shorewood, who was without multitime state champion Kristin Malone, earned one individual title.
For Bay, freshman Heather Smallpage claimed the 50-yard butterfly (28.37 seconds), while senior Foley Van Lieshout took the 50 backstroke (29.49). Meanwhile, Nicolet's Gwen Worlton won the longest race of the meet, the 200 Individual medley (2:18.05) and also the 50 breaststroke (30.23).
For Shorewood, state champion Rachel Munson won the 100 individual medley (1:01.1).
"(This) is a fun meet that features shorter and atypical events and the girls really like it," Greyhounds coach Rob McCabe said. "...With that number of girls not at the meet (around seven) it allowed for many (other) girls to their first invite experience."
Homestead used balance to earn its place, Leigh Berman was fourth in diving (278.5 points), Brittany Thomas third in the 200 free (2:05.77), Alexandria Petersen third in the 100 IM (1:02.95) and fourth in the 50 breaststroke (31.05), Molly Zall fifth in the 50 free (26.1) and Mallory Fox second in the 100 free (55.76).
As for the organizer himself, he was just happy that the meet went off well and that his kids competed hard.
"We had a number of lifetime best times even though they are tired at this point of the season," Dwight Davis said. "Gwen Worlton and Jamie Kloehn had a very good meet with Gwen just missing the school's top five board in the 200 IM.
"Our 500 freestyle relay (which features 10 people for each team in a frantic "splash and dash") did a really good job in placing third. Its been quite a while since we have had that many girls under 30 seconds in the 50 freestyle."
Other highlights for the other teams included the following:
400 medley relay: (eight people), second (3:58.56); 50 butterfly: Marissa Brudny, sixth (29.18); 100 free: Hannah Pasterski, sixth (57.68); 50 backstroke: Brudny, fourth (30.28); 50 breaststroke: Anna Lauko, fifth (32.93); and 500 free relay: second (4:33.42).
"We got to mix things up in a lot of different ways and we were very happy with the way we performed," Jim Davis said.
50 free: Kloehn, third (26.06); 50 butterfly: Sara Zelazoski, third (28.95); and 100 free: Kloehn, fourth (57.06).
200 free: Leah Jorn, sixth (2:10.14); and 50 breaststroke: Munson, second (30.43).
Among the people that McCabe highlighted were both Leah and Eva Jorn, Monica Dix, Elena Cruz, Grace Anderson and Shelby Hammond. he was pleased with the fact that separate athletes were able to score points for the team.
For the Falcons, the best event was the 50 backstroke, as Hannah Leedom was seventh (32.09) and Lily Wilson 11th (32.77). Other good efforts included Jackie Her and Paige Sprink in the 50 breaststroke and Nicole Gross in the 100 free.
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