Over the course of last week, the Waunakee girls’ swim team got to see both ends of their spectrum of competition. On Tuesday, the Warriors won every event against a smaller River Valley squad; on Saturday, Waunakee faced some of the top teams in the state.
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The Warriors took first in all 11 races in their first dual meet of the season against River Valley.
“It was early in the season, and we don’t have a lot of times,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Heather Frank. “Being able to do that – especially before the Brookfield meet – was good. We’ve got some pretty good times and we can see where we’re at.”
Five Waunakee swimmers took first place individually: Dylan Ryniak in the 200 freestyle (2:09.73) and 500 freestyle (5:43.45), Abi Schmeiser in the 200 individual medley (2:15.36) and 100 backstroke (1:01.90), Grace Blitz in the 50 free (26.73) and 100 breaststroke (1:14.80), Ella Graf in the 100 butterfly (1:04.51) and Makenzie Wallace in the 100 freestyle (56.90).
Waunakee also took first in all three relays. The 200 medley relay team of Alaina Sautebin, Wallace, Schmeiser and Blitz won in 1:56.29, the 200 freestyle relay of Sautebin, Ryniak, Brooke Bound and Kajsa Rosenkvist touched the wall in 1:50.17, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Rosenkvist, Wallace, Blitz and Schmeiser took the meet’s final event in a time of 3:51.29.
“I thought the team had a lot of fun,” said Schmeiser. “Just having a chance to race; I know some of the freshmen, that was their first dual meet.”
“It was a good meet to start off our [dual] season,” added Hannah Grindle.
Waunakee then made the trip to Brookfield East on Thursday to compete in the Spartan Invitational.
In Brookfield, the Warriors’ competition included both the Division 1 and Division 2 defending state champs in Middleton and Edgewood, as well as multiple other top-10 teams in the state including Sun Prairie, Verona, Brookfield East, Madison West and Madison Memorial.
Against the stiff competition, Waunakee took eighth place as a team, scoring a total of 103 points.
“The girls know what to expect from those big schools,” said Frank. “Getting them in there and just being in the atmosphere is helpful because at the end of the year, we’re going to see them.”
The Warriors had six top-10 finishes, highlighted by Schmeiser’s third-place finish in the 100 butterfly in 59.32. Joining Schmeiser in making a trip to the podium was Wallace, whose 1:09.27 finish in the 100 breaststroke was good for sixth place.
Schmeiser and Wallace each had a second top-10 finish on the day; Wallace finished in eighth place in the 200 freestyle (2:01.57) and Schmeiser finished in ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:15.84).
“We can take away where we think we can place,” said Schmeiser. “Where we can swim our strongest events to possibly have swimmers make state.”
“There were a lot of fast times…” Grindle added. “It was a good meet to go to.”
The Warriors had two relays crack the top 10, as well: Sautebin, Wallace, Schmeiser and Blitz took ninth in the 200 medley relay (1:54.22) and Blitz, Ryniak, Wallace and Schmeiser combined to place ninth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:51.06).
Waunakee returned to action on Tuesday, when they took on Baraboo on the road, the results of which were not available for this week’s edition.
The Warriors will compete next Tuesday at Beaver Dam; start time is scheduled for 6 p.m.