Large squad, experience bolster Panthers’ hopes

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – With strong numbers and experience, the Plymouth girls swimming and diving team should have another very successful season.

The Panthers return 14 letter winners, including five state participants, from last year’s squad which won the Eastern Wisconsin Conference title for an amazing 14th straight season, finished 10-1 in duals and placed 11th in the Division 2 state meet.

Heading the group of returnees is senior diver Taylor Knuth who earned a fourth-place state medal, was a sectional champion and won her third consecutive EWC crown last season. The other state competitors back this year are senior diver Haley Olsen, seniors Delaney Olsen and Meghan Roelse and junior Maddie Strutz.

Delaney Olsen swam on the 2012 state 200-yard medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays. Roelse was on the 200 and 400 freestyle relays at state, and Strutz was a member of the 400 relay.

“This will be one of the biggest teams in PHS history [with 57 members]. We have 26 new swimmers/ divers this year which includes four AFS students,” said Panther head coach Mike Slagle who’s in his 35th season at PHS.

“Of the new swimmers and divers, about half bring swimming and diving experience. The AFS swimmers bring some valuable experience and will fill in some holes lost by graduation last year.

“We have 14 letter winners returning from last year and this should provide a good base of experience to help the larger number of newer swimmers and divers,” Slagle noted. “Hopefully, this will bring some good competition up and down the lineup, and we can see some of the new athletes step into varsity roles.”

Slagle said each of the returning state qualifiers will be looking to improve on their finishes at last year’s state meet.

The coach said the team’s strengths are diving, and the freestyle and backstroke areas.

“We will be looking to beef up in the butterfly and breaststroke,” said Slagle.

“Yes, if we continue to work hard, improve on our times, and our senior captains carry on the traditions handed down to them from past classes,” said the coach when asked if he thinks the team can have another strong season.

Working hard and staying healthy are the main keys to having success this season, said Slagle.

Slagle pointed out his major goals for this season:

“Work hard and have fun, see personal bests, win our 15th conference title in a row and send as many to state as possible.”

He sees the Panthers as the EWC championship favorite.

“We will be seeking our 15th straight EWC title. We should go into the conference meet as the team to beat,” said the veteran coach.

“Again this year, we have five [EWC] teams. This year’s meet will be much closer than in the past years due to the graduation of our class of 2012 [season].

“All of the teams should bring some possible medal contenders. It should be a close meet for all of the teams involved. I cannot count anyone out,” Slagle said.

Aug. 27 – @ Sheboygan South
Sept. 3 – Redwing Relays, @ Sheb.
Sept. 5 – West Bend East, here
Sept. 12 – Grafton & WB West, here
Sept. 19 – Port Wash. & De Pere, here
Sept. 21 – @ Port. Washington Invite
Sept. 26 – @ Two Rivers
Sept. 28 – Panther Invitational, here
Oct. 10 – Splash & Chil./Valders,
Oct. 12 – @ Sheboygan South Invite
Oct. 19 – Small School Invite, @
Oct. 22 – Splash & Kiel, @ Kiel
Nov. 2 – EWC Meet, @ Kiel
Nov. 8 – Diving Sectional, TBA
Nov. 9 – Swim Sectional, here
Nov. 15 – State Meet, @ Madison


Seniors – Emily Brown, Cecilia Consaluo, Madison Goldbeck, Sophie Hau, *Taylor Knuth (diver), Ingvild Konglevoll, Sara Martinez, *Mary McConnaha, Enjoyli Meeks, Mary Claire Nicholson, *Delaney Olsen, *Haley Olsen (diver), Mariana Reynosa, *Meghan Roelse, Rachel Romps and Natalie Skelton.

Juniors – *Jenipher Birenbaum, *Amy Holec, Rachel Miller (diver), *Maddy Schmitt, *Amanda Smith, *Jacqueline Snow, *Maddie Strutz, Stephanie Thiel and Alexandria Van Ells.

Sophomores – *Karly Adamson, Kayla Barber, Nichole Bartzen, Meghan Bishop, Meredith Grimes, Lindsey Karczewski, Caitlyn Klemme, *Kayla Lentz, Grace McCreedy, Abigale Nicholson, Nadine Skelton. Meghan Stirling (diver), *Anna Theisen, Anna Ziegler and Lydia Zipperer.

Freshmen – Savannah Arneson, Lauren Bermke, Jordan Doherty, Tatum Eigenberger, Destiny Henschel, Taylor Heyrman, Olivia Honeck, Allison Horner, Taylor Kurtz, Julia Marshall (diver), Hannah McFarlin, Shannon McKee, Emily Mersberger, Gwendolyn Nytes, Allison Pieper, Katherine Richart, Delaney Scudella and Abigail Smrz.

* = Returning letter winner. __________________________________________

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