SPASH swimming dominates sectionals, qualifies for state in multiple events
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — The SPASH girls’ swim team is no stranger to finishing in first place at meets. The Panthers won all six WVC duel meets they swam in, plus taking first place in the WVC meet on Oct 27. SPASH traveled to the Hudson sectional on Nov. 5, coming out with 345 team points and a sectional win. They qualified for state in six events, heading to Waukesha South High School on Nov. 12.
The team went into sectionals confidently and showed it early on. SPASH took first place in the first swimming event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay. Freshman Klare Pilger and Sophomore Jocelyn Trzebiatowski, the two youngest swimmers on the relay team, started and anchored for a strong start for the Panthers. The relay team qualified for state with a time of 1:48.53.
Trzebiatowski turned around in the next event, qualifying for the 200-yard freestyle, where she finished second place. She also moved on to state in the 500-yard freestyle with a top finish. A few seniors participated in the 50-yard freestyle race, another state qualifier event. Jenna Breitbach and Ashleigh Pahnke raced for SPASH, ending less than two seconds from each other. Breitbach ended in 24.5 seconds, good enough to qualify for the state meet. Pahnke finished in 11th place with a time of 26.13.
Breitbach swam another shorter distance race in the 100-yard butterfly. The senior cleared second place by less than a second, qualifying for her third event at state.
The 100-yard freestyle was another strong qualifying event for the Panthers. Pilger stamped the first individual qualifier of her high school career, finishing in third place with a time of 52.77 seconds. She grabbed her third total qualifying finish in the 100-yard backstroke, beating teammate Eloise Cooper to the wall. They are both heading to state with their performances.
The last event the Panthers qualified in was the 400-yard freestyle relay. A team consisting of Breitbach, Pahnke, Trzebiatowski, and Pilger won the event by a few seconds. The relay team qualified with a time of 3:37.85, the third-best time in the state in the event.
These athletes will compete on Saturday at the Waukesha South Natatorium, starting at 2:30 p.m. If you have other local sports story ideas, contact Jacob at [email protected]. You can also follow him on Twitter at JacobHeid_15 for updates on local sports news and events.