Find the podium at state.

That’s the goal for all as the boys high school swim season opens Friday.

Several area swimmers made a splash at the Division 2 state meet last season and hope for a repeat performance this season.

Janesville did not have a Division 1 state qualifier a year ago, but both city coaches believe that will change this season.

Janesville Parker will rely on a strong senior class as it competes in the state’s best conference in the Big Eight.

Coach Eric Rhodes said this year’s team has worked harder than any other he’s had.

“We trained over Thanksgiving and will train over Christmas break, too,” Rhodes said. “It’s a big commitment, but the more practices you work hard at and not just show up, the faster you can be.

“I hoping for three or maybe four conference wins, which will be a challenge, but certainly a possibility.”

Heading the list of returnees are seniors Cameron Odegaard, Nate Warda, Michael Easton, Garrhett Bullen, Harley Hall and Brandon Paul.

Rhodes believes Odegaard has a legitimate shot to qualify for state in the 200 IM, 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, depending on which two events are his fastest.

Warda’s best event is the 500 freestyle, while Easton’s is the 100 breaststroke.

Bullen and Hall are slated for the backstroke events, with Paul in the breaststroke.

Peyton Meyer will anchor the sprint freestyle events.

Rhodes also expects contributions from juniors Riley Wingate and Kyle Warda, along with sophomores Remy Brown, Logan Rogula and Ben Rahlf.

“We have outstanding leadership with our seniors,” Rhodes said. “We’re going to need that strong work ethic to make this young team faster.

“You can’t just come to practice. You need to swim all the yards and keep the intensity up.”

Craig first-year coach Mike Schuenke believes the Cougars will be a team building for the future thanks to a young roster.

“Our motto for the season is the first step toward greatness is taking the first step,” Schuenke said. “For the team it means it’s a new year, a new coaching staff and a new way of doing things.

“We have to come together as a team to decide where we want this team to go in the future.”

Sophomores Kiel Wolff and Carson Dooman are the top freestylers on the team, while sophomore Kaiden Wojcik can swim both butterfly and backstroke.

Junior Sam Sarauer is solid in butterfly, while senior Gavin Ziebell can swim any event, especially the individual medley.

Senior Lochlin Pearce provides depth in the freestyle distance events. Senior Callaghan Bradley anchors the 100 breaststroke.

“The team has grown this year with 22 boys on the roster,” Schuenke said. “The potential for the season looks promising.”

Area standouts

Whitewater’s Young Liang is the top returning area state place-winner. The sophomore was third at the Division 2 state meet in the 100 breaststroke and fifth in the 200 individual medley.

Elkhorn has a wealth of talent returning.

Leading the way is Hunter Johnson. The junior was sixth in the 200 freestyle at the D2 state meet and also swam on the sixth-place 400 freestyle relay team. Other state qualifiers returning for the Elks are Willy Pinnow, Lucas Koepke, Brevin Kruse, Alex Johnson and Derek Gauger.

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