Panthers eye improvement at state

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS will have three relays and one diver in Friday’s D-2 girls state swimming meet. The state qualifiers include (front row, left to right) Maddie Strutz, Jacqueline Snow, Maddy Schmitt, Amy Holec (swimming alternate), (back row) Katy Coley, Savannah Arneson, (diver), Kayla Lentz, Nichole Bartzen and Anna Theisen. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS will have three relays and one diver in Friday’s D-2 girls state swimming meet. The state qualifiers include (front row, left to right) Maddie Strutz, Jacqueline Snow, Maddy Schmitt, Amy Holec (swimming alternate), (back row) Katy Coley, Savannah Arneson, (diver), Kayla Lentz, Nichole Bartzen and Anna Theisen. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH — Coming off a strong sectional showing, the Plymouth Panthers are are looking to keep it going at Friday’s Division 2 girls state swimming and diving meet.

The meet will be held at the UWMadison Natatorium, with the diving event at 2:30 p.m. and the swimming competition at 6:30.

The Panthers qualified all three of their relays – the 200-yard medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle, Each relay swam season-best times in Saturday’s sectional meet at PHS.

The relay members include: medley – seniors Jaqueline Snow, Maddy Schmitt and Maddie Strutz and junior Kayla Lentz; 200 freestyle – juniors Anna Theisen and Nichole Bartzen, freshman Katy Coley and Strutz; and the 400 freestyle – Coley, Snow, Theisen and Strutz. The swimming alternate is senior Amy Holec.

Sophomore Savannah Arneson will compete in the diving.

It will be difficult for the relays to place very high because they are in strong fields and seeded low (based on sectional times) heading into state. Panther head coach Mike Slagle’s goal is for the relays to improve or hold their sectional times.

“We swam well at the sectional to make the meet. We will have another week of rest in hopes of dropping our times,” said Slagle.

Slagle pointed out the keys for the swimmers to perform well at state:

“Good fundamentals, good relay starts, putting together four outstanding swims and believing they can go faster.”

He said the focus in practice this week is getting more rest, honing the relay starts and mentally preparing for fast swims.

“We only have two [Strutz and Theisen] that have that state experience. The others have been in big meets and have big-meet experiences. I am confident that they will step up and perform well,” said Slagle.

Strutz competed in the 100 freestyle and was on the 400 freestyle relay along with Theisen in last year’s state meet.

“The [overall swimming] field will be fast. Many of the qualifying times were faster than in years past. I would say that Grafton should be the state champs,” said Slagle.

Grafton, which won the sectional at PHS (the Panthers were second), is the defending D-2 state champion.

PHS diving coach Greg Heberlein is confident Arneson can improve on her sectional performance and move up from her state seeding of 15th.

“She is already in a more confi- dent state. Just qualifying for state was our main goal last week and she was a little tense at the sectional meet. She is more relaxed now, and her dives in practice show it,” said Heberlein.

“She was diving really good last night [Tuesday]. We spent some time on all of her most difficult dives, trying to do some last- minute tweaking.

“Tonight [Wednesday] and tomorrow [Thursday] we will run her whole 11-dive list and work on consistency and build on her confidence. I want her to have fun at her first trip to the sate meet.”

Sophomore Ginger Lingard of Madison Edgewood Sacred Heart heads the diving field and is the defending state champion.


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