Panthers vying for strong sectional showing

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Panthers are looking for a strong performance in this weekend’s Division 2 boys swimming and diving sectional meet at PHS.

The Panthers are coming off an outstanding showing en route to winning the Eastern Wisconsin Conference Meet Saturday and hope to keep the momentum going at the sectional.

“The performance of the entire team at the EWC Meet was just amazing. We were really hitting on all cylinders through the entire meet and it was great to have everyone do their best,” said Panther head coach Clare Sedlacek.

“We hope to carry that momentum forward. Typically we perform well at our pool. Our guys have consistently been at the top of our game at all the big meets this season and we hope to continue with that this weekend.”

The diving competition will be held Friday at 6:30 p.m. and the swimming is scheduled Saturday at 2 p.m. The winners of each sectional event automatically qualify for state. Also qualifying are the top-12 individuals and relays from all the sectionals (excluding sectional winners).

“We are hopeful the preparations the guys have made are go- ing to carry them to strong performances this weekend. We are seeded well in most of our events, including being seeded in the top three in diving, 200-yard medley relay, 50 freestyle, 100 free, 200 free relay [first], 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay,” said Sedlacek.

“Our goals are to have our best performances of the season and to qualify as many as possible to state.”

Leading the Panthers’ individual swimming events is senior Ryan Holec in the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Holec had an impressive EWC Meet in which he won the 50 and 100 freestyles – setting meet and PHS records in the 100 and posting a personal-best in the 50.

Competing in diving for PHS will be junior Riley Josephs who was the EWC runner-up with a personal-record score for 11 dives.

Sedlacek pointed out the keys for the team to perform well.

“Each guy needs to focus on the job at hand – individually and as a team. They need to support each other just like they have all season,” she said.

“Being at home is huge. We are so excited that for the first time in eight years we are at home for diving. Our swimmers are definitely excited about swimming sectionals at home.”

PHS diving coach Greg Heberlein thinks competing at home will help Josephs.

“Diving on our own board is so important. Riley is used to our equipment. The Plymouth High School pool and diving board is one of the best in the state,” said Heberlein. “All are important to Riley’s performance.

“I am hoping Riley finishes first or second. He has a harder diving list this year from what he did last year when he went to the state meet. He is performing his dives very consistently with lots of confidence.”

Sedlacek sees Cedarburg and Grafton as the top contenders for the sectional title. PHS is the defending Plymouth sectional champion.

“Cedarburg dropped down to D-2 this year and moved to our sectional. The depth of those two teams [Cedarburg and Grafton] are probably just a little too much for us to compete for the sectional championship or runner-up,” said Sedlacek.

“The guys have worked really hard the first two days of practice this week and are primed for this weekend. The swimmers have been working on using great technique and refining their strokes but with a little more rest than during the normal season.”

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