PHS has nice mix of youth and experience

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth boys swimming and diving team is having a good season so far despite having a young roster.

PHS has only 11 upperclassmen and graduated several key performers from last season’s squad which won its second straight Eastern Wisconsin Conference title, was third in Division 2 sectional competition and eighth in the state meet.

The Panthers came into this week with a 6-2 dual record and had strong showings in the Plymouth Invitational and Cedarburg Bulldog Invitational with second and sixth places, respectively.

“We have a great big group of young guys to compliment our smaller contingent of seniors and juniors. We lost a lot of experience from last year, including two threetime state qualifiers but we are adjusting really well,” said Panther head coach Clare Sedlacek.

“Harrison Strutz and Riley Josephs [seniors] are both two-time state qualifiers and are two of our three captains, the other being Ben Nichols [senior].

“Riley is looking really good so far [in diving], taking third place at the Cedarburg Invite. He should look to move up this year in the placing at state,” said Sedlacek who is in her 12th season at the helm.

Josephs finished eighth at state last year. Strutz competed in the state 100-yard backstroke and the 200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays as a junior, with the medley and 200 freestyle relays earning sixth-place medals.

Plymouth’s other returning state competitor is junior Ben Schaefers swam in the 500 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay at state last year.

“Harrison was a four-event state qualifier last year. That experience will definitely help him this season. We look forward to seeing who else is going to step up and join him as we have to replace three of the four swimmers in both events,” said the coach.

“Our medley relay is already faster than the state-qualifying time for last year and that is really good news.”

Sedlacek pointed out that two of the squad’s four foreign-exchange students, seniors Davis Dejus (from Latvia) and Leander Leinen (Germany), have stepped into varsity roles in swimming competition.

“Beside Ben Schaefers, we have three other juniors, with Jaxsen Schermacher as the other returning varsity swimmer. Keegan McMullen is in his third year and Dillon Nemitz is in his second year,” Sedlacek noted.

“Sophomores Keegan Gafney and Dawson Smith are returning lettermen and have already made good contributions to the team along with fellow sophomore Christian Pieper who has really stepped up his game and is our second best distance freestyler behind Ben Schaefers.

“We’ve had a few freshmen also break into the varsity lineup: Jack Keller, Jeremy Martin, Alex Oty and Noah Scudella. Charlie Aschenbach is a diver who actually won his first six-dive meet when Riley Josephs was not able to be in attendance due to taking a college class,” said the coach.

“Prior to last week’s loss against Brillion/Valders/Chilton I thought we had the EWC crown back in our grasp but we took second to them in a triangular meet and that should propel us to working hard to make the necessary changes and bring home a third EWC championship in a row.”

B/V/C finished second in last year’s EWC Meet.


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