Craig swimmers defeat Parker
JANESVILLE The annual dual between Craig and Parker High girls swim teams cannot be labeled a blood feud, but the cross-town rivals fire up for the challenge.
Craig defeated visiting Parker, 115-55, Friday in the Big Eight meet. While the score wasn’t close, the action in the pool was intense. Craig is 3-5 in conference duals and Parker is 1-7.
“This is always the meet, just like everybody, you circle it on the calendar,” Craig coach Brian Kitzman said. “I get jacked, and the girls are really excited about this meet.’’
Craig junior Alexis Roach won the 200 freestyle (2:07.88) and the 100 backstroke (1:07.44), and junior teammate Cady Gansen won the 200 individual medley (2:20) and the 100 breaststroke (1:10.24) to lead the Cougars, who won nine of the 11 events.
Parker junior Hailey Leisten won the 50 freestyle (26.78) and the 100 freestyle (58.32).
Craig sophomore Sierra Rhodes and Leisten hooked up in a down-to-the-wire battle in the 100 free with Leisten taking first by a shade more than four-tenths of a second. Rhodes finished third to Leisten and behind the Vikings’ Jana Burner in the 50 freestyle.
“We are really good friends, and we’ve swam against each other for a while now,” Rhodes said. “It’s just really good to have competition like this, and these are the races I look forward to all season long.’’
Rhodes and Leisten may see each other again at the conference meet in two weeks.
“Hailey and me are gonna take it on again, I hope,” Rhodes said.
While Leisten and Rhodes had their duels, Parker’s lone senior, Leslie Jones lost a tight battle to Craig junior Gretchen Quinn in the 500 freestyle.
Jones posted a 5:46.06, her personal best, but Quinn had a strong final kick to gain the victory in 5:45.62.
“It was a good race,” Jones said. “I shouldn’t have taken it out that fast. I should have breathed every three strokes, but I still got my PR.”
Performing well in the Craig-Parker dual means a lot to Jones.
“I know the girls, and it’s very good competition,” she said. “We know what times we are at and it’s very nerve wracking because we are trying to beat each other, but we are friends.’’
The competition between rivals stirred, but Sarah Whitcomb, a Craig sophomore, held the meet in her hands as she chugged to the finish in the junior varsity 50-yard freestyle.
Whitcomb, who has Down Syndrome, had competitors and fans from both sides of town on their feet, hollering, “Go, Sarah.’’ Whitcomb posted a 1:37.36, missing her best mark of 1:22.16.
“Sarah just has so much courage,” Kitzman said. “She is an inspiration to all of us.’’
Kitzman said Whitcomb has a way of bringing the house down when she hits the water.
“Every time she swims, the entire room is just captivated,” Kitzman said. “She deserves all the attention she gets because she works really hard.’’
Craig hosts the Cougar Relays today.
CRAIG 115, PARKER 55
200 medley relay—1. Craig (Cady Gansen, Alexis Roach, Maggie Gorman, Emma Schmaling), 2:33.02. 2. Parker (Leslie Jones, Rachel Perkins, Emma Fischer, Hailey Leisten), 2:05.18.
200 freestyle—1. Alexis Roach (JC), 2:07.08. 2. Gretchen Quinn (JC), 2:10.39. 3. Jana Burner (JP), 2:15.70.
200 individual medley—1. Gansen (JC), 2:20.42. 2. Schmaling (JC), 2:30.2. 3. Courtney May (JC), 2:37.68.
50 freestyle—1. Leisten (JP), 26.78. 2. Burner (JP), 27.07. 3. Sierra Rhodes (JC), 27.19.
100 butterfly—1. Schmaling (JC), 1:08.00. 2. Maggie Gorman (JC), 1:09.87. 3. Allison August (JP), 1:17.73.
100 freestyle—1. Leisten (JP), 58.32. 2. Rhodes (JC), 58.72. 3. Kara Chung (JC), 1:01.86.
500 freestyle—1. Quinn (JC), 5:45.62. 2. Jones (JP), 5:46.06. 3. Gorman (JC), 5:49.
200 freestyle relay—1. Craig (Gorman, Cady Gansen, Schmaling, Rhodes), 1:48.01. 2. Craig (Kendall Cawkins, May, Taylor Johnson, Chung), 1:54.10.
100 backstroke—1. Alexis Roach (JC), 1:07.44. 2. Jones (JP), 1:08.07. 3. Chung (JC), 1:14.00.
100 breaststroke—1. Gansen (JC), 1:10.24. 2. Rachel Perkins (JP), 1:21.57. 3. May (JC), 1:21.57.
400 freestyle relay—1. Craig (Rhodes, Jessica Washington, Quinn, Roach), 4:03.21. 2. Parker (Jones, Emma Fischer, Burner, Leisten), 4:04.87.
Junior varsity—Craig 101, Parker 30