Shorewood girls swim coach Rob McCabe doesn't throw around the number casually, but there it is: 42.
That's the number of individual and relays that the WIAA state champions Greyhound program has earned, mostly in the last 20 years. They added the last four in the most recent state Division 2 meet on Nov. 15, three of them records.
Senior Kristin Malone finished her grand career with seven total state titles. She added a defense of her 200 free crown and was part of the state record 200 medley relay team. Junior Rachel Munson put her stamp on the title of "Best D2 swimmer in the state" when she broke records in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke (cracking her own mark that she set a year ago) and was also part of that medley relay.
She will enter her senior year next fall with four state crowns to her credit.
"I've been here 13 years and we talk about legends all the time," coach Rob McCabe said. "Carollo, Belfor, Purvis. People will talk about Rachel and Kristin that same way down the road."
Westfahl improves program
The era of legends and state titles for that matter began roughly when coach David Westfahl found his way to Capitol Drive around 1990. He became both boys and girls coach at the high school then and stayed on until 2000.
He has been executive director and head coach of the Shorewood Swim Club since 1991. McCabe, who took over the high school programs in 2001 remains the head age group coach and business manager for the club when not heading up the high school teams.
Under Westfahl's tutelege, the great Jamie Belfor and her friend and teammate Anna Carollo started the Shorewood High School run that has also included seven WIAA State Division 2 team titles (four under Westfahl from 1994-97) and three more under McCabe (2001, 2003, 2012).
Belfor won her first title as a freshman in the Division 2 100-yard freestyle in 1993 and closed out individual career in 1996 with a spectacular state records in the 200 free (it stood for 13 years) and the 500 free (held up for 14 years). All told, she won 12 individual and relay titles, tied for fifth-best all time.
Three swimmers in state history have 14 overall titles and Madison East's great Aja van Hout has 13.
Other legends in the Shorewood ranks have included the likes of six-time champ Kinsey Eschenburg as well as eight-time winner Meghan Purvis as well as Marika Ross.
Pushing each other
McCabe noted that the program has always had competition within the ranks. Like Belfor had Carollo, practice lane partners Munson and Malone had each other these past few years.
"I try to push her in the freestyle because we can always use the help in freestyle in club," Malone said, "and she pushes me in the IM. I try so hard to keep up with her in that and usually she does a good job of keeping up with me in freestyle, though sometimes she's not as good as me (laughs).
"We all just want to do our best."
This pair is also a little different in other ways.
"I'm 5-9 and she's about 5-4," Munson said, "but I'm a little more reserved while she (Malone) is a little more out there with her competitiveness and energy while I don't show it as much."
McCabe knows he just has to be smart with talent like this, like Westfahl was with Belfor and Carollo.
"My job is is to continue them on the path to their highest level," he said, as both have their swimming roots in the Shorewood Swim Club.
Malone's time is all but through in Shorewood but bright lights are shining ahead for her at the high-powered Texas A&M program where she now has a scholarship. She intends to major in kinesiology and business.
Meanwhile, Munson will likely continue on her path of good impressions with the Shorewood Swim Club and then go out with a bang her senior year. College plans can wait until then, she said.
At the same time, Westfahl and McCabe will continue to work with their potential successors at the club level, making sure that the program doesn't drop off anytime soon.
The club pool is always busy and there are prospects to be evaluated. Those athletes are working hard, hoping to add their names to the list of legends that includes Belfor, Carollo, Purvis, Eschenburg, Malone and Munson.
"Oh yeah," McCabe said with a chuckle. "The well is not dry yet."
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