Germantown - They haven't had a pool of their own in years, all their meets are on the road and they're still night owls when it comes to practice times over at their semi-adopted home of Homestead, but that doesn't hold back the members of the Germantown girls swim team.
The Warhawks demonstrated that emphatically Sept. 15, when they won all but two events and cruised to the title in the 11-team Pirate Invitational at Port Washington.
"By the time of the breaststroke (the next-to-last event) we figured we were going to win," said first-year Warhawks coach Kevin Ewald, "so I told the girls to just go out there and enjoy themselves and have a good time. We stuck around afterwards, got our awards and had the parents take some pictures with the nice plaque that we won.
"The parents were over the moon about this. It was so enjoyable to talk to them. I just couldn't believe how jacked up everyone was.
"I came in with big expectations for this team and this just reinforces the potential. Now we have some proof of how good we are. We really showed what we were made of."
Ending streak of no titles
It is believed to be the first invite title since the Warhawks lost their home pool several years ago and had to go practice at places like Homestead and Schroeder Aquatic Center.
Germantown, which also took two firsts in finishing fifth in the North Shore Conference Relays on Sept. 11, scored 461 points in its victory as Plymouth was second with 408 and Wauwatosa West third with 317.
The Siebenaller sisters, junior Rachel and freshman Sam, led the way for the team. Rachel won the 200-yard freestyle (1:57.92) and the 500 free (5:18.18) while Sam took the 200 individual medley (2:18.18) and 100 butterfly (1:01.88).
In addition, Rachel was on the winning 400 free relay team that included Abby Schabel, Khia Kurtenbach and McKenna Coulter (3:53.74) while Sam was on both the victorious 200 medley relay that included Kurtenbach, Alle Raglund and Lauren Gromacki (1:58.92) and the winning 200 free relay crew of Schabel, Haley DeGrace and Gromacki (1:46.71).
One-two sister squads
In fact, Sam Siebenaller's 200 medley team just touched out big sister Rachel's for the victory as that second unit included Skye Beckes, DeGrace and Coulter allowed Germantown to go one-two in the event.
DeGrace was also a double winner in the 100 free (57.82) and the 100 breaststroke (1:09.67) while Kurtenbach claimed the backstroke (1:01.73). The Warhawks also took four out of the first six places in the butterfly.
Ewald was very impressed by the effort.
"I absolutely can't believe how much the hard work is paying off," he said. "We know that Plymouth would be tough because I looked at the results from last year, but we also knew that if we picked the right events and had some good swims we could win it.
"We knew we might get a good number of (individual) wins but we also got a lot of lower level kids involved as well. They really continued to step up today too. It was also very cool to win all three relays."
Other high finishes
Other top six finishes for the Warhawks included the following: 200 individual medley, Raglund, fifth; 50 free, Schabel, third; 100 butterfly, Schabel, second, Kurtenbach, fourth, and Coulter, sixth; 100 breaststroke, Raglund, third.
The effort was made even more impressive considering that most days (Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) the team practices at Homestead from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with a usual trip to Schroeder on Fridays.
"Some of the girls go to work right after school and then they come to practice and then do homework after practice," said Ewald, "and still, I can't believe how much they're able to put in (to practice) at the end of the day."
In the North Shore relays, the Warhawks got wins out of the 500 crescendo relay of Hannah and Khia Kurtenbach, Jane Green and Rachel Siebenaller; and the 300 backstroke crew of Khia Kurtenbach, Beckes, Gromacki and Sam Siebenaller.
Germantown will be at the Nicolet Sprints at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 22.
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