Janesville Parker Vikings take group approach
Parker High opens the Big Eight dual season Friday at Madison East.
Eric Rhodes begins his 10th season as Vikings’ coach with 16 returning swimmers. Seniors Markus Murdy, Matt Simon, Nate Sigmund and Jacob Oldenburg will lead the charge.
Murdy, Simon, Sigmund and the graduated Jacob Johnson earned a state berth in the 200-medley relay last season with a 1:44.73 sectional time.
Juniors Brandon Jackson and Nick Masterson are candidates to replace Johnson on the relay team, which will be gunning to break the school record of 1:43.07.
“I have a couple of backstrokers in Brandon Jackson and Nick Masterson,” Rhodes said. “We should get the school record.’’
Rhodes thinks Jackson can have a strong season.
“Brandon is clearly the fastest kid in the water for me,” Rhodes said. “He’s way faster than anybody.’’
Rhodes has Jackson pegged for the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle. Simon competes in the sprint events, Sigmund swims the breaststroke and the 200 IM, and Murdy handles the butterfly and sprint events. Masterson swims the backstroke and the sprint freestyles.
Parker’s junior class includes Kyle Amundson, Sam Fischer, Zach Eicher, Nick Masterson, Andrew Schoeder and Nate Krueger.
The sophomores are Spencer Twining, Mason McDowell, Tommy Dvorak, Phillip Bouska and Brett Valirona.
“Dvorak is looking real good,” Rhodes said. “He is not a swimmer, and never swam year-round, but he understands swimming, especially the butterfly.’’
Dvorak’s brother, D.J., finished fourth in the state 50 freestyle his senior year at Parker. D.J. now swims for UW-Milwaukee.
Rhodes thinks Madison Memorial and Middleton rule the Big Eight.
“After the top two, you can throw a blanket over the rest of them,” Rhodes said.
As for Parker, Rhodes is reserving judgment.
“We’ll know better after Friday,” he said. “I’m hoping for three or four dual meet wins.’’
Rhodes said he will focus his swimmers on improving times.
“I want to get them faster and faster for state, conference and sectionals,” Rhodes said.
The Parker schedule:
(5 p.m. unless indicated)
DECEMBER: 3—At Madison East. 10—Madison West/Sun Prairie. 11—Parker Invitational, 11 a.m. 17—Verona. 18—Elkhorn Invitational, 10 a.m.
JANUARY: 6—Milton Invitational, 5:30. 8—Stoughton Invitational, 11 a.m. 15—Beloit Memorial. 15—Manitowoc Invitational, noon. 21—At Janesville Craig/w Madison Memorial. 28—At Madison La Follette/w Middleton. 29—Racine Invitational, 1 p.m.
FEBRUARY: 5—Big Eight meet at Middleton, 8 a.m. 12—WIAA sectional, at Middleton 8 a.m. 19—WIAA state meet, UW Natatorium, 3 p.m.