One year ago, Janesville Craig’s boys swim team lost its rivalry dual meet against Parker on the very last event of the night.
On Friday, the Cougars flipped the script.
Freshman Ben Witt gave Craig the lead on the third leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay and junior Kiel Wolff brought the victory home as the anchor, edging Parker by just over two seconds.
The relay win was the last in a night full of close races and gave the Cougars—who trailed entering the final event—an 87-82 victory in the Craig pool.
“That’s how it ended up last year, but we ended up losing it. This time, we came back,” Wolff said. “It’s almost kind of a bittersweet feeling, because I’m friends with a bunch of the senior swimmers on the other team. But it’s amazing to have all your friends around you and cheering you on.”
Parker had won the past two Big Eight crosstown dual meets.
Both teams’ swimmers and their coaches were pleased with the times they put up in the opening meet of the season.
“We smoked everybody in the scrimmage in the 400 free relay, so I was feeling really confident,” Parker coach Eric Rhodes said.
“But to have both teams at 3:35 or faster, and it’s probably going to take 3:24 or faster to go to state, it’s great to be starting at this time rather than 3:45 or 3:50.
“I’m very happy, especially with Zhander Rowley, who won the 100 breastsroke and shaved off like six seconds.”
Rowley turned in a time of 1:08.43 to edge teammate Riley Wingate by just 0.31 seconds.
And that wasn’t even the closest race of the night. That came in the 50 freestyle, where Craig’s Kadin Wojcik and Parker Aaron Griffith battled to a dead heat in 24.47 seconds.
Additionally, Wolf edged Parker’s Ben Rahlf by less than a second in the 100 butterfly, Craig’s Sam Sarauer nipped Griffith by just 0.36 seconds in the 100 free and Parker’s Logan Rogula topped Witt by 0.47 seconds in the 100 backstroke.
“It was an exciting night,” Craig coach Charlotte Davies said. “A good night for Janesville swimming, in general.
“We’ve been practicing really hard and are looking forward to the season.”
Wolff said the exciting finish to the first meet of the season should serve as a momentum-builder, especially with the teams meeting right back at Craig on Saturday morning for an invitational at 10 a.m.
“It gives us a higher step on the ladder to build from,” Wolff said.
CRAIG 87, PARKER 82
TOP FINISHERS IN EACH EVENT
200 medley relay—Craig (Ethan Hundt, Kiel Wolff, Ben Witt, Sam Sarauer), 1:50.53; Parker 1:59.30.
200 freestyle—Logan Rogula (P) 1:57.36; Witt 1:59.61; Sarauer 2:02.97,
200 IM—Wolff 2:10.41; Riley Wingate (P) 2:11.97; Benjamin Rahlf (P) 2:14.43.
50 freestyle—(tie) Kadin Wojcik (C) and Aaron Griffith (P), 24.47 each; Bradley Warda (P) 25.47.
100 butterfly—Wolff 57.49; Rahlf 58.33; Jackson Ryan (P) 1:04.98.
100 freestyle—Sarauer 55.14; Griffith 55.50; Warda 57.49.
500 freestyle—Wojcik 5:42.28; Carson Dooman (C) 5:46.17; Ryan 5:59.69.
200 free relay—Parker (Rogula, Griffith, Wingate, Rahlf), 1:36.66; Craig 1:45.90.
100 backstroke—Rogula 1:00.46; Witt 1:00.93; Hundt 1:05.04.
100 breaststroke—Zhander Rowley (P) 1:08.43; Wingate 1:08.74; Avery Sullivan (C) 1:17.10.
400 free relay—Craig (Sarauer, Wojcik, Witt, Wolff), 3:33.28; Parker 3:35.42.