Craig sends seven to state swim meet
JANESVILLE They may not be the “Magnificent Seven,” but Janesville Craig High School’s seven qualifiers for the boys WIAA Division 1 state swim meet are special to coach Brian Kitzman.
Craig’s three relays teams and senior Nick Hazekamp in two individual events received berths as extra qualifiers after last Saturday’s rugged Middleton Sectional.
Janesville Parker senior Marcus Genrich became an extra qualifier in the 200 individual medley.
All will compete Saturday at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison, where swim events start at 3 p.m.
“That’s seven boys going all together,” Kitzman said of the Cougars’ entourage heading to state. “It’s very exciting, and it’s historic.’’
Kitzman can’t recall how long it’s been since Craig sent three relay teams to state.
“It’s not been in the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s a big turning point for us to get all three (relays to state), and a couple of individual events.”
Hazekamp, Alex Loftus, Sam Waddell and Matt Enloe finished sixth at Middleton in the 200 medley relay in a school-record 1:41.58 and are seeded 17th at state.
Craig’s Nick Strub, Sean Davis, Tyler Meinders and Enloe posted a 1:31.66 in the 200 freestyle relay to break a 15-year-old school record with a team that is seeded 19th.
Strub, Meinders, Enloe and Hazekamp combined for a 3:21.81 in the 400 freestyle relay and are seeded 21st.
“That was our goal all along—to qualify all three relays for state,” Kitzman said.
Kitzman said the goal has been extended to set school records for each event.
“The boys are still hungry for more,” he said. “They want to break the records again, and set the 400 ‘free’ relay record.’’
Kitzman said Craig will have to swim the 400 freestyle relay three seconds faster to break the school record set in 1990.
“We’ll see what they can do on the retaper,” Kitzman said. “The goal is to break all the records again. If we swim well on Saturday, we should move up from where we are seeded.’’
While Hazekamp will swim in two of the three relays, he also will focus on the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. He qualified in the 100 backstroke last season.
“Nick swam the 500 freestyle last year and did not make it,” Kitzman said. “Nick’s not a sprinter, per se, and not an endurance swimmer, so the 200 worked out well.”
Hazekamp finished eighth in the backstroke at state last season, and he expects to move up from his No. 11 seed this season.
“He swam the sixth- or seventh-fastest time in the state, and he is actually going for a Top 3 finish.’’
Meanwhile, Parker’s Genrich is hoping whatever propelled him into a fourth-place finish in the 200 individual medley in a 2:04.53—a whopping six-second drop from his previous best time—is still with him.
Genrich picked the 200 IM on a whim as his second event before the Middleton Sectional. He qualified for state in the 100 breaststroke last season.
“What Marcus is going to do in the event this week, I have no idea,” said Parker coach Eric Rhodes.
This will be Genrich’s third trip to state. He was on a Vikings’ 200 freestyle relay team his sophomore year.
Rhodes said Genrich will not be nervous.
“The only distraction when he his on the deck will be me,” Rhodes said.