Panthers look to regain conference title

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers have their eye on regaining the Eastern Wisconsin Conference boys swimming and diving championship this season.

PHS finished second in the EWC Meet last season and third the year before after winning four straight league titles. The Panthers are coming off a strong 2012-13 campaign in which they placed second in Division 2 sectional competition and ninth in the state meet. PHS was 3-1 in EWC duals and 5-5 overall.

“This is going to be a great season because we have great student athletes. Swimming and diving are sports that requires a lot of self-discipline because you’re on your own to get the work done,” said head coach Clare Sedlack who is in her ninth season at PHS.

“If we continue to work as hard as we have in the past it will be a successful season.

“As always, my goals are for the team to see improvement, to be gracious competitors and for the guys to have a great season. In terms of something concrete, we hope to bring the EWC title back to Plymouth, to compete well at sectionals and to qualify swimmers and divers to state,” Sedlacek said.

The Panthers graduated several key members from last season’s squad but return 16 letter winners, including two state qualifiers in junior diver Evan Klemme and senior Matt Matz. Klemme placed second in the EWC Meet and fourth in the sectional. Matz competed at state in the 200- and 400- yard freestyle relays, with the 400 relay earning a fifth-place medal.

“All of our returning seniors have conference [meet] experience. Our junior class is small but very strong, with all returning juniors letter winners,” said the coach.

“Our sophomore class is huge, and while most of them do not have conference or sectional experience, they have stepped it up big-time already this season.”

Sedlacek emphasized the importance of technique for the swimmers.

“This will be the first year since my first year of coaching that I don’t have any year-round swimmers. We will have to pay particular attention to all the most important parts of technique and make sure we do starts, turns and relay exchanges extremely well,” she said.

“Our strength as always are our numbers. We have over thirty swimmers and divers [34 total] on our team which of course helps us against our conference competition, and in addition makes us competitive with the larger schools.”

Sedlacek thinks she has a strong varsity lineup.

“We have a great varsity lineup, although we are still thin at some of our specialty strokes like the individual medley and butterfly – the two toughest races to fill. We have 29 swimmers and are able to have at least two relays for each relay event,” she pointed out.

“We again have good numbers for diving which is super helpful down the road. It makes us competitive for conference and sectional time.”

Sedlacek said sophomore Ryan Holec and freshman Harrison Strutz have impressed her the most among the newcomers.

“Ryan is a former age-group swimmer has joined the team and has already made an impact. Harrison Strutz looks to have great strokes and will have ample opportunities this year,” said the coach.

Sedlacek said the biggest key for the team to have success is to stay healthy.

She expects Plymouth and Chilton/Brillion/Valders, the defending champion, to battle for the EWC crown.

“We got the best of them [Chilton/ Brillion/Valders) at the first invite [Oshkosh West) of the season but we were all fighting for podium positions with Division 1 competition. B/C/V was missing their best swimmer, so we’ll get a better picture of where we are when we meet them for our conference dual in January,” Sedlacek pointed out.

Jan. 4 – at Cedarburg Invitational
Jan. 9 – Two Rivers & Sturgeon Bay,
Jan. 14 – Sheboygan South, here
Jan. 16 – @ Oshkosh West
Jan. 18 – @ Sheboygan South Invite
Jan. 23 – Chilton/Brillion/Valders, @
Feb. 1 – Small School Invite, here
Feb. 8 – EWC Meet, @ Kiel
Feb. 14 – Diving Sectional, TBA
Feb. 15 – Sectional, here


Seniors – *Ben Bachman, *Austin Ernst, Gabriel Guiriec, *Mitch Halderson, *Brad Hetlet, *Jake Landry, *Matt Matz, *Mark Novak, Andres Ovaille, *Peter Roth, and Leo Sakuma.

Juniors – *Lucas Collard, *Zach Gambrell, Cam Hauser, *Evan Klemme (diver), *Dan Levan, and *Brent Thiel.

Sophomores – Mitch Eigenberger, *Corby Gafney (diver), Anghelo Gangano (diver), Andy Guminey (diver), *Chaz Halderson, Cole Henning, Zack Jordan, Riley Joseph, Evan Landry, Jordan Marshall, Ian McConnaha, Eric Novak, Ben Pierce, and *Payten Wimmler.

Freshmen – Jack Benedict, Saunders Gentine and Harrison Strutz.

* = Returning letter winner.

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