Shorewood girls swim team aims to take state title
Will send 13 entries to Friday's meet
Shorewood - The names are inscribed on the pool wall, in the trophy cases and are probably even part of the water itself for the Shorewood girls swim program.
Names such as coach Dave Westfahl, who led the team to four straight titles from 1994-97, state record holder and 12-time state champion Jamie Belfor and fellow multi-time champion Anna Carollo. And all athletes, legends and keepers of the flame of a Greyhound program that has won six WIAA Division 2 state titles.
Now these current Greyhounds, working under coach Rob McCabe, who was at the helm of the last two championships Shorewood won in 2001 and 2003, are thinking top of the podium again, and it is a very realistic shot.
Shorewood, which was state runner-up in 2011, will send 10 individuals and three relays to Friday's WIAA Division 2 meet at the UW-Madison Natatorium (6:30 p.m.) after winning the WIAA sectional meet at Plymouth last Saturday, their first sectional title since 2003.
"Looking ahead to state I know the girls will be poised and more than ready to perform at their highest level," McCabe said. "I haven't looked too deeply at the seedings, but I'm sure we'll be in the mix for the team championship.
"That's been our goal since the end of last season and we know we have the talent and numbers to have something to say about the championship."
Senior Ellen Stello agrees with her coach.
"We definitely and truly believe we can do something special," she said. "We don't want to leave with any regrets."
Stello is the top seed in the 500-yard freestyle, the second seed in the 200 individual medley and a member of the top-seeded 400 free relay and the fourth-seeded 200 medley relay.
Will see usual challengers
She is just part of the impressive wallop that the Greyhounds pack at the top of their lineup.
It also includes returning state 100 free champ Kristin Malone, who is the top seed in both the 100 and 200 freestyles and who will be anchoring the ninth-seeded 200 free relay as well as that top-seeded 400 free unit.
Other individual qualifiers include Genevieve Hayes (sixth-seeded in the 200 free and 15th-seeded in the 500 free), Rachel Munson (fifth-seeded in the 200 IM and third-seeded in the 100 breaststroke), Melissa Clausen (14th-seeded in the 100 free and eighth seeded in the 100 backstroke).
The chase for state will be an interesting one, McCabe said. Grafton, which finished narrowly behind Shorewood in the sectional, has 11 individuals and three relays qualified and 2011 champ Milton will send eight and three.
McCabe is not trying to read too much into the meet just yet.
"Anything can happen and I like our chances, but we'll have to earn it," he said. "If we swim our best like I know we can, we will be extremely happy."
Outlook looks promising
And Stello knows McCabe will do his best to have the team ready.
"I think coach is very good at not putting too much pressure on any one meet," she said. "Each meet is part of the process to him and that's been part of the great feeling we've had this fall. We've gotten together and talked about this (state). How special it would be (to win). We're nervous, but it's a good nervous."
The Greyhounds shook the nerves out of their system and won the 13-team sectional with 362 points as Grafton was second with 353.
Malone and Stello were each double winners. Malone took the 200 free in 1:52.51 and then the 100 in 52.07. Stello claimed the 200 IM by close to three seconds in 2:09.94 and then came back with an impressive 5:05.08 that was six seconds clear of the field in the 500 free.
In addition, Stello led off and Malone anchored the victorious 400 free relay that included Hayes and Clausen (3:37.82). Malone split a spectacular 50.60 to touch out the Grafton team at the finish.
"That may have been Kristin's brightest moment from an already banner day," McCabe said.
Other state berth earning efforts included the following: 200 medley relay - Clausen, Munson, Stello and Eva Jorn, third (1:52.04). 200 free - Hayes, second (1:58.01). 200 IM - Munson, second (2:12.54). 100 free - Clausen, fourth (55.39). 500 free - Hayes, fourth (5:25.32). 200 free relay - Munson, Diana Yakshimamedova, Hayes and Malone, second (1:41.79). 100 backstroke - Clausen, third (1:00.11). 100 breaststroke - Munson, second (1:06.77).
Also competing at the sectional were the following: 200 free - Yakshimamedova, 10th (2:08.01). 200 IM - Chloe Borut, sixth (2:16.18). 100 butterfly - Jorn, eighth (1:02.83); Yakshimamedova, ninth (1:06.94); Lucy Petrick, 10th (1:06.96). 500 free - Jorn, fifth (5:37.29). 100 backstroke - Borut, sixth (1:05.27). 100 breaststroke - Monica Dix, 12th (1:16.68).
All contributed to a great day, one that will hopefully lead to a greater day.
"This was a meet for the ages," McCabe said. "Meets like this prove you're alive judging by my elevated heart rate throughout the meet. Oh man, the electricity, liveliness, buzz and tension brings out the best in these athletes."
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