Veteran PHS squad has high hopes

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Good experience and numbers boost the Plymouth Panthers’ hopes for a successful boys swimming and diving season.

The Panthers are 31-strong and return 18 letter winners from last season’s squad which won a Division 2 sectional title, finished second in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference Meet and had a 3-1 EWC dual mark (4-4 overall).

“I’m always optimistic. Coaching the guys on the PHS swim and dive team is a privilege for me, and we have had a lot of success in my years as coach,” said Panther head coach Clare Sedlacek who is in her 10th the season at the helm.

“We have a great group of guys who are working extremely hard to make the most of the opportunity they have as a swimmer or diver.

“Great numbers again this year make for another strong team. We are a little thin at some of the specialty strokes like the 200-yard individual medley and 100 butterfly but have a bunch of guys who are swimming super fast in sprint freestyle. The battle for our two free relays is fierce,” said the coach.

“We have a huge junior class with a lot of varsity experience who are going to drive this train for the next two seasons. Our new swimmers are going to have a great opportunity to learn from the veterans about how to work hard and challenge themselves.”

Heading the group of letter winners are seniors Lucas Collard, Evan Klemme and Zach Gambrell and juniors Ryan Holec and Chaz Halderson who all competed in the 2014 state meet. Collard, Halderson and Holec were in the 200- yard freestyle relay which was the Panthers’ top state finisher with eighth. Klemme competed in diving.

Collard swam in the 200 freestyle and was a member of the 400 freestyle relay at state. Gambrell and Holec were also on the 400 team. Halderson was the Panthers’ only first-place finisher in the 2014 EWC Meet as he captured the 100 breaststroke.

“Our team is deep with experience and expertise. Seniors Zach Gambrell and Brent Thiel along with junior Ryan Holec have been selected by the team as captains. They are the drum beat of this team which has been very evident in the first few weeks of the season,” said the coach.

Sedlacek pointed out new members of the team this season who have impressed her.

“Leon Gehri [senior foreignexchange student from Germany] has been a great addition to the squad because he is a really good all-around swimmer, hard worker and fun guy to be around,” she said.

“Junior Noah Joseph returns after a one-year hiatus and has helped strengthen our 100 breaststroke event.

“Freshman Ben Schaefers has already made an impact, participating in relays and winning a varsity event [500 freestyle]. Ben is leading one of our varsity lanes, which is no easy feat, considering the depth of our squad this season.”

PHS diving coach Greg Heberlein has high expectations for his three divers, Klemme, junior Anghelo Gangano and sophomore Riley Josephs. In last season’s EWC Meet, Klemme placed second, Gangano was fourth and Josephs, fifth.

“We always set goals at the beginning of the season. This year it was to have fun, be safe, keep good grades, learn new dives, dive well and get higher scores at each meet, dive at conference and score as many points for the team as we can, win conference, dive at sectionals and qualify for state,” said Heberlein.

Sedlacek said the top keys for the team to enjoy success are to work hard and have fun.

She thinks the Panthers are the EWC title favorites.

“Winning the EWC title is always my first team goal each and every year. Our last title came four years ago, so these guys are primed and ready to bring the conference championship plaque back to Plymouth,” said the coach.

“Briilion/Chilton/Valders has some great returning swimmers who are already competing at a high level. Kiel has a really nice squad.”

Sedlacek mentioned her top goals for the season:

“No athletic code violations, measured hard work and improvement for all divers and swimmers, great team support, win the conference, a top-two sectional finish for the team and qualifying three divers, three individual swimmers and all three relays to state,” she noted.


Dec. 18 – @ Kiel
Dec. 26 – Alumni Meet, here
Jan. 3 – at Cedarburg Invitational
Jan. 8 – Two Rivers & Sturgeon Bay,
@ Two Rivers
Jan. 17 – @ Sheboygan South Invite
Jan. 22 – Chilton/Brillion/Valders, here
Jan. 29 – Oshkosh West, here
Jan. 31 – Small School Invite, @
Feb. 3 – @ Sheboygan South
Feb. 7 – EWC Meet, @ Two Rivers
Feb. 13 – Diving Sectional, TBA
Feb. 14 – Sectional, here


Seniors – Antonio Cambise, *Lucas Collard, *Zach Gambrell, Leon Gehri, *Evan Klemme (diver), *Dan Levan, and *Brent Thiel.

Juniors – *Mitch Eigenberger, *Anghelo Gangano (diver), *Chaz Halderson, JJ Haupt, *Cole Henning, *Ryan Holec, *Zack Jordan, Noah Joseph, *Evan Landry, *Jordan Marshall, *Ian McConnaha, *Eric Novak, *Ben Pierce, and Max Schermacher.

Sophomores – Saunders Gentine, *Riley Josephs (diver), Ben Nichols and *Harrison Strutz.

Freshmen – Connor Joseph, Aiden Maki, Keegan McMullen, Garrison Pierce, Ben Schaefers and Jaxsen Schermacher. * = Returning letter winner.

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