Germantown girls set four school records in sending nine entries to state swim meet
Coach gets dunking for top-shelf effort
Germantown - First-year Germantown girls swim coach Kevin Ewald set a high bar for his talented team heading into the WIAA sectional meet at Cedarburg on Nov. 1.
Ewald was not in his normal natty long-sleeve shirt and tie. He was dressed in Germantown swim gear, which was a good thing, because at the end of the wildly successful meet from which the Warhawks advanced six individuals and all three relays to Saturday's WIAA State Division 1 meet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Natatorium, he himself had to take a swim.
"I told them that if they got four school records today that they could push me in (to the pool)," he said, "and they got four records right on the head. Normally I am a bit dressed up, but this time I was in a team shirt."
"I was the one who made sure he got into the pool," laughed junior Rachel Siebenaller, who set one of those marks in the 100-yard freestyle. "… He just had to go in (laughs)."
And now the Warhawks will go on to bigger and better things at state. The D1 test commences at 3 p.m. Saturday with the following Germantown entries: Rachel Siebenaller (12th seed in the 200 free and ninth seed in the 100 free), Samantha Siebenaller (school record and sixth seed in the 50 free and 16th seed in 100 butterfly), Haley DeGrace (sixth seed in 100 breaststroke) and Khia Kurtenbach (20th seed in the 100 backstroke).
Along with those individual entries will be three high-powered relays. They include the school-record shattering 200 medley team of Kurtenbach, DeGrace, Abby Schabel and Samantha Siebenaller (sixth seed); the school-record breaking 200 free crew of Schabel, DeGrace, Kurtenbach and Rachel Siebenaller (14th seed); and the 400 free relay team of Samantha Siebenaller, Kurtenbach, Rachel Siebenaller and DeGrace (16th seed).
"We're still all a little bit in shock about this," Ewald said, "especially to be competing at this high a level. But we will be ready to go on Saturday. We're not going to be done (with setting new records) until this meet (state) is over. This is not the endgame for us."
He said a top 10 team finish is not out the realm of possibility.
Rachel Siebenaller concurs and notes that Ewald knows what he is doing.
"We believe in our coach," she said, "because he really has put in a lot of time and effort. He's put together a great taper for us. We just give him a lot of credit."
Ewald has only partially tapered the state group, which is always a risk because the cutoffs for state qualifying times in all events is getting faster and faster every year, but so far it has paid off.
"I can't believe how it compares even to just last year," he said.
But the Warhawks faithful can't believe how fast this young team (Schabel's the only senior) is going right now. The medley relay took down an excellent record that was set in sectionals last year by close to three seconds with their runner-up finish 1:48.75. All the legs were brilliant, Ewald said, but he noted that freshman Samantha Siebenaller anchored the team in a blistering 50 free leg of 23.1.
The 200 free team broke its school record with a fourth-place effort of 1:40.86 while the 400 claimed its state berth with a third-place sectional showing of 3:40.89.
Those efforts helped Germantown to a third-place showing in the sectional team standings with 262 as Cedarburg won with 389 and Menomonee Falls/Hamilton was second with 279.
Rachel Siebenaller earned her spots with a pair of seconds. She was caught in 1:55.67 in the 200 and her record-setting time in the 100 was 52.84.
Her sister also got in the record books, too, as her 50 free time was a spectacular 0.8 of a second faster than her seed as she won the race in 24.05. She also took second in the 100 butterfly in 59.18.
DeGrace was third in the breaststroke in 1:06.33.
Olympian speaks to team
Ewald noted he did pull out all the stops last week in getting the team ready, including pulling in his old swim roommate, former Olympian Adam Mania to give a motivational speech.
"It was a combination of things that got us going that fast," he said. "We tried to work in as much collective wisdom as possible."
Other fine efforts just came up short of state for the Warhawks. Also competing were the following: 200 free: McKenna Coulter, 11th (2:06.85); 200 individual medley: Alle Raglund, 10th (2:27.57); 50 free: Schabel, 11th (26.08); Skye Beckes, 13th (26.58); 100 butterfly: Schabel, fourth (1:01.94); Coulter, ninth (1:05.18); 100 free: Beckes, 13th (58.57); and, 100 breast stroke: Raglund, eighth (1:12.95).
Rachel Siebenaller, who is one of the upperclassmen who drives teammates to the practices at Homestead, is anxious to put things to a good end on Saturday.
"I'm really proud of everyone who has pushed me the last three years," she said. "It's been the best year ever. Very memorable. … Now I'm excited to see how fast we'll all go at state."
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