Panthers have high expectations at D-2 state meet

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS will compete in seven events at the D-2 state swim/dive meet on Friday, Feb. 16. The state qualifiers are (left to right) Derek Holec, Keegan Gafney, Jack Gumieny, Christian Pieper, Dawson Smith, Alec Nicholson, Charlie Aschenbach, Ben Schaefers and Jaxsen Schermacher. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS will compete in seven events at the D-2 state swim/dive meet on Friday, Feb. 16. The state qualifiers are (left to right) Derek Holec, Keegan Gafney, Jack Gumieny, Christian Pieper, Dawson Smith, Alec Nicholson, Charlie Aschenbach, Ben Schaefers and Jaxsen Schermacher. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth boys swimming and diving team is peaking going into the Division 2 state meet Friday, Nov. 16.

The Panthers have put together three strong meets in a row coming into state (Small School State Invitation, followed by the Eastern Wisconsin Conference Meet and the sectional). PHS won the EWC Meet and took a strong second in Saturday’s sectional in Cedarburg.

“My outlook on state is pretty positive. I think the biggest goal is to have a great day,” said Panther head coach Clare Sedlacek.

“I also think one of our main goals is to perform at our seedings. If we can maintain the seeding positions that we’re in right now it will be an exceptional day.”

The state meet will be held at the UW-Madison Natatorium, with swimming at 2:30 p.m. and swimming at 6:30 p.m.

The Panthers have two state-qualifying divers in junior Charlie Aschenbach and sophomore Alec Nicholson. Aschenbach, a sectional champion, is seeded No. 2 and Nicholson, No. 7.

Plymouth’s other state participants include: 200-yard medley relay; junior Christian Pieper in the 200 individual medley; senior Ben Schaefers, 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle; 200 freestyle relay; and the 400 freestyle relay.

The 400 relay includes junior Dawson Smith, senior Jaxsen Schermacher, Pieper and Schaefers. The relay and Schaefers in the butterfly are both seeded No. 3 which leads PHS in swimming.

The medley relay includes junior Derek Holec, Pieper, Schaefers and Smith. The 200 relay consists of junior Keegan Gafney, Holec, Smith and Schermacher. Junior Jack Gumieny is the Panthers’ alternate for swimming.

“We’re really excited about our divers, Charlie and Alec. The opportunity for Charlie to be on the medal stand is pretty high and Alec has great opportunity to be on the medal stand as well,” said Sedlacek.

“Ben Schaefers has a great opportunity as well to medal individually [in the 100 butterfly]. He put together a great race last week at sectionals.”

“I have been telling Charlie all season that he has a chance to do something great this year and now he is in position to do just that,” said PHS diving coach Greg Heberlein.

“He will need a great meet on Friday in Madison to match what he did last Friday night at Cedarburg in the sectional]. But I know he has it in him to do just that.

“Alec is our ace in the hole. He is a first-year diver. He not only qualified for state but made a statement as to how good a diver he is,” said Heberlein.

Sedlacek pointed out what the main focus in practice has been this week for the divers and swimmers.

“The focus this week has been just cleaning everything up – both for the divers and the swimmers. And making sure that the little things are done well, that the technique is perfect and that you don’t leave anything to chance,” she said.

Schaefers, Smith and Schermacher competed at state last year and Sedlacek thinks that experience should help them a lot at this year’s meet.

“Our mindset is that we are not done yet. We have great momentum, thanks to the last three weeks of competition. They’ve seen most of the people they’re going to be competing against at least once this year and I think that’s really important because we know what’s coming,” Sedlacek pointed out.


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