Numbers encourage Janesville Craig swimming coach
The Cougars have 36 on the roster, and coach Brian Kitzman is smiling.
“I’m happy,” Kitzman said. “It’s the biggest team in 7-8 years.’’
Craig travels to cross-town rival Janesville Parker at 5 p.m. Friday to open the Big Eight Conference dual meet season.
Kitzman said the good numbers provide depth and ability to shuffle swimmers.
“It makes it easier to fill out a lineup,” Kitzman said. “We have some depth and balance.’’
A group of seven seniors leads the Cougars.
Kali Schneider, the Cougars’ lone state qualifier, returns to swim the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke.
“She is thinking about making state with better times,” Kitzman said. “We’d love it if some other girls went with her this year.’’
Other seniors include Rachella Bennett in the sprint freestyles and breaststroke, Ashley Fry, sprint freestyles; Gabby Harwick, breaststroke; Carley Kjornes, distance freestyles; Grace Van Veldhuisen, distance freestyles; and Annika Whitcomb, IM and breaststroke.
Kitzman said the junior class should be a factor.
That group includes Randi Brockman, distance freestyles; Kara Chung, breaststroke; Elizabeth Hazekamp, individual medley and backstroke; Tati March and Karissa Smith, breaststroke, and Jessica Washington, sprint freestyles.
Kitzman likes sophomore Cady Gansen chances of qualifying for state.
“She has a real good shot as an individual qualifier in the breaststroke,” Kitzman said. “She is a top breaststroker.’’
With more pieces to work with, Kitzman thinks the Cougars can reap rewards.
“We lost two conference meets by two points last season, and they had a tie,” he said. “Those are three meets that basically came down to the last relay. We want to add those to the win column this year.’’
Kitzman is thinking, with added depth, the Cougars can gain the points needed to win close dual meets.
“We want to beat a couple teams that have scraped by us the last couple years,” Kitzman said.
AUGUST: 26—At Janesville Parker, 5 p.m. 27—Parker Invitational.
SEPTEMBER: 2—Sun Praire. 9—Beloit Memorial. 10—Wauwatosa East Invitational. 16—At Madison La Follette. 23—Madison Memorial. 24—Fort Atkinson Invitational. 30—At Middleton.
OCTOBER: 6—At Verona. 14—At Madison East. 15—Craig Invitational. 18—Madison West. 29—Big Eight e meet, at Middleton.
NOVEMBER: 5—WIAA sectional, at Middleton.