Girls swim: Cawkins sets 50-yard freestyle record

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Tom Miller
Friday, October 18, 2013

On a night that the Janesville Craig High senior girls swimmers celebrated their fourth straight Big Eight Conference dual-meet victory over Janesville Parker, it was a sophomore who stole most of the thunder.

Craig’s Kendall Cawkins broke the school’s oldest swim record, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 25.41.

The old mark was 25.50, set by Jill Jorgensen in 1987.

“I was really happy to see that,” Craig coach Brian Kitzman said. “This really puts her in a good position at possibly getting a spot at state. That is only half a second away from a state cut time. Priorities change when you swim that fast.”

Cawkins’ record victory helped the Cougars record a 122-48 victory over the Cougars in the Parker pool.

The Cougars’ Alexis Roach contributed two individual victories in the 200 freestyle (2:07.39) and 100 freestyle (56.77).

“She’s very close (to setting a school mark) in the 100 free,” Kitzman said of the senior. “That’s one of her big goals, to set the record and get to state.”

Craig also swept all three relay events en route to the victory, which improved its Big Eight dual mark to 3-5.

“The relays are looking solid statewide,” Kitzman said. “We’re hoping we can get all three to state.”

Kitzman also was impressed with senior Gretchen Quinn who won the 500 freestyle (5:40.49) for the second dual meet in a row.

“That’s just awesome,” Kitzman said. “It’s a tough event to win.”

Both Kitzman and Parker coach Meghan Bartel were impressed with the attitudes of the swimmers.

“I think they were inspired for many, many reasons, but they swam really well,” Kitzman said. “I’m really pleased with our attitude. It has gotten us through the tough times, and we’re still going through tough practices, and I got to give credit to the girls for coming to practice with smiles on their faces.”

Bartel said both teams performed well.

“We had several (personal records), which is ridiculous because they are working so hard,” Bartel said of the 6,000-yards-a-day practices. “They should be dog-tired, but they have all this energy.”

Bartel singled out Jana Burner’s 500 freestyle time of 6:05.06, and freshman Nikki Millard’s 100 breaststroke time of 1:26.42.

“All the girls were happy for each other,” Bartel said. “They were ecstatic for (Cawkins). That’s fast.”

The two teams get together again today at the Cougar Relays in the Craig pool. Then there is just one conference dual meet remaining before tournament time.

Kitzman, for one, believes his team hasn’t reached its peak.

“There’s a lot more left,” Kitzman said. “And that’s exciting.”

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