Trio of local teams ready to make splash

All three compete in the Bay Conference
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High school girls swimming teams around the state dove into the pool for the first time on Aug. 7 for the first practice of the new season. Starting today, those teams could compete in their first meets and invites.

For Clintonville and Wittenberg-Birnamwood, winning those meets and invites might prove difficult with such low roster numbers, but that won’t stop individual swimmers on those two teams from giving it their all this season.

The Shawano/Bonduel co-op, on the other hand, returns plenty of experienced swimmers and is focused on improving its team standing.

Shawano/Bonduel

Despite losing 10 seniors to graduation, the Shawano/Bonduel co-op returns a multitude of experienced swimmers from last year’s team.

The co-op roster for the upcoming season will be led by six seniors, Jenne Dreyer, Jordyn Pingel, Kelsey Kallies, Madi Hanson, Skye Bohm and Tatiana Kunschke. Coach Sharon Hanson said Bohm and Kunschke will serve as the team’s leaders.

“I think our team goals for this year is beating our old times from last year and building stronger bonds with the swim girls. This can all be achieved by pushing ourselves a little farther both in and out of the pool,” said Kunschke, who noted most people don’t realize Shawano and Bonduel swimmers combined for the co-op.

“We just really want to work on our personal bests this year and we really want to be there for each other through bad meets and good meets,” Bohm said. “Swim has been really an exceptional way for girls to come out of their shells and become more comfortable. We all push each other to do our bests and we want everyone to succeed.”

Making up the team’s junior class is Alexis Ramirez, Ashantee Smith, Elise Oss, Elizabeth Dillenberg, Emily Thornock, Haley Quandt, Olivia Lorbiecki and Rebecca Lewandowski. Sophomores Grace Huntington, Isabel Colon and Macy Monfils also have varsity experience.

“Last year we had many new swimmers, even new to the sport altogether,” coach Hanson said. “This year we have a few rookies, however, they are moving right along and keeping up with our team. We are looking forward to a successful year.”

Clintonville

After the graduation of three key swimmers, Clintonville will have a tough time winning as a team.

The Truckers do bring back plenty of experienced swimmers that coach Stephanie Stilen believes will be tough to beat individually.

“We have a strong team with hard working, talented swimmers. These girls have a lot of experience swimming competitively and will be tough to beat in individual events,” Stilen said. “I hope that all the girls work hard and improve a lot this season.”

Leading the team into the season is senior Sami Smejkal, who competes in the 100-meter butterfly, 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. The team will also return a trio of sophomores, Brianna Foth (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), Willow Skar (100 breaststroke, 200 IM) and Kelli Smith (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle).

Smejkal hopes to serve as a mentor for some of the team’s younger swimmers.

“I plan to help the underclassmen improve their swimming skills, and help them enjoy high school swim and being on a team,” she said. “I also plan to teach them what high school swim is all about, because it is pretty different from club swim. Being as small as we are this year, I would say that we are expected to be as mighty and as powerful as we can be. We will achieve this expectation by working on our swimming techniques and form, as well as being super supportive of each other and other teams.”

Wittenberg-Birnamwood

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood swimming team enters the season under many of the same conditions as last year.

While its roster doubled in size, the Chargers will still have a difficult time trying to win matches and invites with a much smaller team than most.

“Because we are such a small team, it’s hard for us to win meets and get points that way, so a lot of us are focusing on our individual goals,” junior Lauren Bahr said. “I know we would love to be able to win things as a team, but realistically it’s just not possible in most of our meets. When we do get the opportunity to win a meet, we pour everything into it.”

Bahr is the Bay Conference’s defending champion in the 100-yard backstroke. Junior Christina Thrun took fourth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 500 freestyle last year.

Juniors Crysta Stennett (breaststroke and sprints) and Olivia Curley (backstroke and sprints) will also help provide leadership for the team’s new swimmers.