The Greendale/Greenfield boys swim team’s annual pilgrimage to the UW-Natatorium for the WIAA Division 1 State Swimming and Diving Championships will once again take place this weekend.
But this time the PantherHawks might have outdone themselves.
The co-op won seven of 12 events to easily win its own sectional Saturday at Greenfield High School, but perhaps even more impressive is that the PantherHawks qualified for state in every event.
Event winners automatically qualified for the state meet, as did the 18 best non-winning sectional efforts statewide.
Greendale/Greenfield sophomore Rick Perez was among those who took the former route multiple times. Perez won the 200-yard individual medley in 1 minute, 56.44 seconds, the fourth-best state seed time, before later dominating the 100 backstroke in 51.66. His time in the back is second in the state field only to Homestead junior Nicholas Peterson’s 51.32.
But that wasn’t all for Perez. He teamed with Ross Rybakowicz, Andrew Staszak and Adam Fleischhacker to win the 200 medley relay in 1:37.55, and Staszak, Shaun Lucchesi and Fleischhacker for a win in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:17.59.
Rybakowicz qualifies more than once
Rybakowicz had an equally impressive afternoon as he won the 100 butterfly in 52.91 and pulled out a narrow victory in the 100 breaststroke in 59.73. He also joined Niko Mendelin, Lucchesi and Fleischhacker for a tantalizingly close win in the 200 free relay in 1:31.14.
Four PantherHawks were runners-up, but still qualified. Lucchesi was second to Racine Case’s Jarred Glasser in both the 200 free and 100 free but qualified with times of 1:48.55 and 49.20, respectively.
Fleischhacker was second in the 50 free in 22.38, eight one-hundredths off the pace set by Franklin’s August Beck, and Staszak was second in the 500 free in 4:57.21.
Rounding out the PantherHawks’ perfect effort was senior Liam Duffy, who finished fourth in diving with 359.15 points, enough to make the state cut.
The local co-op won the sectional with 336.5 points, well ahead of Racine Case’s 305, and will compete in the D1 state meet Saturday. Diving begins at 10 a.m.; swimming starts at 3 p.m.
Whitnall Falcons impressive as well
The Whitnall Falcons will also be sending a large contingent of athletes to Madison this weekend after an impressive effort at the Division 2 Cudahy Sectional on Saturday.
There Jake Hodel won the 100 breast in 1:02.41 to automatically qualify for state. Hodel’s time is the fourth-fastest seed time in the D2 field.
In addition to sectional winners, the top-12 efforts from non-sectional winners statewide also advanced to Madison.
Hodel had his hand in the Falcons’ other three state swim entries by teaming with Ben Hinson, Jack Larson and David Monteilh for second in the 200 medley relay (1:44.24), third in the 200 free relay (1:33.69) and fourth in the 400 free relay (3:26.05). All three times made the state cut.
Whitnall diver Nick Bell was also among those who qualified after placing second at the sectional with 344.90 points.
Whitnall placed fourth of 12 teams with 205 points.
The D2 meet is Friday, Feb. 15, with diving at 2:30 p.m. and swimming at 6:30 p.m.