Panthers hoping to perform well at state

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS won the second boys swim/dive sectional title in school history last weekend. The sectional team includes (left to right) Peter Roth, Corby Gafney, Chaz Halderson, Matt Matz, Brad Hetlet, Mitch Halderson, Mark Novak, Lucas Collard (with sectional championship plaque), Harrison Strutz, Zach Gambrell, Jake Landry, Brent Thiel, Ben Bachmann, Austin Ernst and Ryan Holec. Not pictured is Evan Klemme. — Photo by Clare Sedlacek THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS won the second boys swim/dive sectional title in school history last weekend. The sectional team includes (left to right) Peter Roth, Corby Gafney, Chaz Halderson, Matt Matz, Brad Hetlet, Mitch Halderson, Mark Novak, Lucas Collard (with sectional championship plaque), Harrison Strutz, Zach Gambrell, Jake Landry, Brent Thiel, Ben Bachmann, Austin Ernst and Ryan Holec. Not pictured is Evan Klemme. — Photo by Clare Sedlacek PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Panthers face a tough challenge in Friday’s Division 2 boys swimming and diving championships in Madison but are hopeful to have a good showing.

PHS is coming off a strong performance en route to winning a sectional title last weekend in which several swimmers posted season- or career-best times.

“We are hoping for quality performances on Friday. It’s always tough to come and perform after a very emotional and physically draining meet last weekend,” said Panther head coach Clare Sedlacek.

“The guys had such a great sectional and it’s hard to repeat that.

“It will be a challenge to get on the medal stand. The highest we are seeded in any event is the 200- yard freestyle relay where we are seeded 10th. It’s a great seeding because we will be in the middle of the pool. If everyone does there job with a great start and turn we certainly have a chance to medal,” she said.

The Panthers’ state qualifiers include Evan Klemme and Corby Gafney in diving, Lucas Collard in the 200 freestyle, and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. The 200 relay includes Collard, Chaz Halderson, Ryan Holec and Matt Matz. The 400 relay members are Collard, Zach Gambrell, Holec and Matz.

Klemme and Matz are the only Panthers with state experience, having competed last year. Matz was on the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams, with the 400 group earning a fifth-place medal.

Sedlacek said focusing on the task at hand is a key to the Panthers performing well at state.

“The swimmers are focusing on the small things and maintaining great technique. It’s a challenge when you’re used to swimming lots and lots of yards morning and afternoon,” said Sedlacek.

PHS diving coach Greg Heberlein pointed out the keys for Klemme and Gafney to perform well.

“Evan has been there before. He did not have his best day of diving last year at the state meet [placing 16th]. But now he knows what it is like to go to Madison,” said Heberlein.

“His nerves should be better. He is doing a little easier list of dives from last year.

“Corby had an off-night last Friday [in sectional]. He lost his reverse dive, even though he did a good reverse-1 somersault. His board work was rough, and he took all of his forward approaches out over the water too much,” said Heberlein.

“But he qualified, and now he just has to relax, lift his arms and hurdle knee, and remember what we have been working on all season.”

“I think it’s helpful to have guys who have been to the meet before and experienced it first-hand,” said Sedlacek.

“The atmosphere is unique and fun. We get to be part of a really awesome event and have the opportunity to represent our school and community in a way very few athletes ever experience. It’s a privilege to be there.”

The diving event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and swimming is set for 6:30 p.m. at the UW-Madison Natatorium.


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