Whitewater High competes in the Rock Valley Conference in all sports except for girls swim.

When it comes to the pool, the Whippets compete in the Southern Lakes.

And because of that, Ella Houwers will get a chance to end her illustrious prep career as possibly a three- or four-time state champion.

The Whitewater senior competes Friday in the WIAA Division 2 state meet at Waukesha South High School. Houwers is the two-time defending state champion and the top seed entering the meet in the 100 breaststroke. The Northern Michigan University recruit was also the runner-up last year in the 200 individual medley and is seeded third this year.

“Any time you swim at state, the most important thing is to have your best times and swim your best race,” Whitewater coach Gina Foucault said. “I don’t think Ella has any added pressure on her. She’ll go out and swim her race. Like all our girls, especially our seniors, she’s grateful for the opportunity.

“The school support throughout the whole season has been great. And the girls have done a great job of following the rules and regulations set up by the Southern Lakes. They’ve worked outdoors when they’ve had to, and even though we didn’t get started until Sept. 28 they were ready to go right away.”

Foucault’s daughter, Grace, a sophomore, qualified in the 100 backstroke. The Whippets also have two relay teams with hopes of a top-six finish and a spot on the podium. Seniors Sophia Fanshaw and Amber Krebs join Houwers and Foucault in the 200 medley relay and on the 400 freestyle relay.

Houwers’ time of 1:06.87 is the top qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke, and her time of 2:10.57 is third in the 200 IM and just half a second behind the top seed time of 2:10.07 set by Amie Barrow of Shorewood.

Elkhorn Area senior Sydney Balboni qualified in the 200 freestyle, and senior Olivia Moore is in the 100 backstroke. The Elks also qualified all three of their relay teams for state.

Delavan-Darien junior Maggie Person competes in the 100 freestyle.

Whitewater athletic director Justin Crandall said the girls swim team was able to persevere through ongoing COVID-19 concerns because of great attitude and effort from both the coaching staff and the student-athletes.

“We had to do some things differently, such as only allowing three swimmers per lane during practice instead of five or six normally allowed, cutting those working out indoors in half while having the others do dry work outside of the pool and requiring masks at all times except for when they’re swimming. Even on relay teams, you can’t take your mask off until it’s your turn to swim.

“But by doing all those things, we’re fortunate in that we haven’t had any problems related to COVID. And now several of the girls get a chance to swim at state.”

Lake Geneva Badger will be well-represented at Saturday’s Division 1 state meet in Waukesha. Freshman Mackenzie Thomas and sophomore Callie Ceshker are among the top six seeds in the 50 freestyle, with Ceshker also in the fast heat in the 100 freestyle. Badger’s 200 freestyle relay is seeded third, and Thomas is the fourth seed in the 100 breaststroke. Badger’s 400 freestyle relay team also qualified.

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