There was plenty to cheer about for both the Menomonee Falls/Sussex Hamilton and Germantown girls swim squads as they took third and fourth, respectively in the Indians' annual invitational on Saturday.
'The meet went smoothly, that was a good start,' Falls/Hamilton coach Jim Weitzer said, 'and we had some good times, too. Not a lot of them but some. That means I'm doing my job (of working the athletes hard at this time of the season).'
For new Warhawks coach Kevin Ewald, the effort was a continuation of a process he began the day he took over.
'They began the season with difficult dry land and water workouts that are springboarding them into being ready for a busy season,' he said. 'They have showed promise to finish much higher than their 33rd place finish at state last year. It is a very fresh team that has developed a great work ethic and positive training atmosphere.'
Falls/Hamilton scored 378.5 points for its spot in the seven-school field while Germantown was fourth with 331. Waukesha South/Mukwonago won easily with 605.5 while DeForest was second with 428.
The Indians had three firsts as sophomore Cassidy Pilo edged teammate Kate Haznaw (316.5-311.05) to win diving while the Warhawks' Emma Green was third (255.45 points). Meanwhile, Falls/Hamilton sprint ace Amanda Siehs claimed the 50-yard freestyle in 24.71 just ahead of precocious Germantown freshman Sam Siebenaller (25.09). Siehs also took a very quick third in the 100 free (54.01).
'It was a good race for her in the 50 though she was a little upset with her strategy in the 100,' Weitzer said of Siehs.
Haley Lucas also found the top of the medal stand with a fine 59.12 effort in the 100 butterfly that was close to two seconds ahead of Siebenaller (1:00.91).
Other top finishes for the Indians by event included the following: 200 medley relay: Sommer Semanek, Hannah Mast, Lucas and Emmorie Jossie, fourth (1:56.57); 200 free: Grace Devine, fifth (2:00.46); 200 individual medley: Mast, third (2;19.53); 500 free: Devine, fifth (5:32.12); 200 free relay: Siehs, Jossie, MaryEllen Pawley and Devine, second (1:44.25); 100 backstroke: Semanek, fifth (1:06.12); 100 breast stroke: Mast, fifth (1:13.14); and 400 free relay: Lucas, Mast, Devine and Siehs, second (3:46.5).
Weitzer was pleased with the general overall progress.
'As a team, we're coming together and starting to mesh,' he said. 'At the start of the season, we were a group of individuals but we're stepping it up a bit. We'll have a real team this year.'
The Indians host DSHA at 6 p.m. Thursday in their annual parents' night event.
For Germantown, a major highlight of the meet was the winning 200 medley relay team of junior Khia Kurtenbach, sophomore Haley DeGrace, Siebenaller and senior Abby Schabel which turned in a very quick time of 1:534.32, edging a team from Waukesha South/Mukwonago in a photo finish.
Kurtenbach, DeGrace and Schabel joined fellow returnee junior Rachel Siebenaller in taking 13th in state last season in the event with a time that was very close to what the Warhawks recorded at Falls.
Other seconds went to Rachel Siebenaller in the 100 free (53.9), Kurtenbach in the 100 backstroke (1:00.7) and DeGrace in the 100 breast stroke (1:09.49).
Also finishing well for the Warhawks were the following: 200 free: Rachel Siebenaller, fourth (1:57.25); 100 butterfly: Schabel, fourth (1:03.02); 200 free relay: Rachel Siebenaller, DeGrace, and freshmen McKenna Coulter and Jane Green, fifth (1:50.01); and 400 free relay: Rachel Siebenaller, Kurtenbach, Sam Siebenaller and Schabel, third (3:48.36).
'It has been very busy figuring out the logistics of the season, but that hasn't deterred the girls from starting out on the right foot,' said Ewald, whose team took part in the North Shore Conference Relays at Port Washington on Tuesday.