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Nicolet Sprint turns swim meet on its ear

Creative events let athletes loosen up

Sept. 29, 2009

There were some events at the inventive Nicolet Sprint Swim meet on Saturday where so many people were involved that all you could see was the splash.

"It's just a fun meet," said organizer and Knights coach Dwight Davis. "The kids always seem to have a good time. An official came up to me during the meet and told me 'Do you realize that you have only three normal events on the program?' and I just told him 'That's the point.' "

Because in his many years of organizing meets and running numbing, relentless and difficult practice sessions, Davis knows that the athletes need to break things up a little midseason.

So that's why he has things like an eight-person 400 medley relay and a 10-swimmer 500 free race at this meet.

Other coaches found it entertaining, too.

"For that 500 free race, I just had the kids pull names out of a hat," said Mark Gwidt of the victorious Homestead team. "We know we can compete in a race like that no matter where the kids are positioned. ... Something like this is just good for our state of mind."

"The atypical relays were a blast but again the larger number relays really favor the bigger teams," added Shorewood's Rob McCabe.

Homestead won the meet with 408.5 points while Whitefish Bay was second with 344, Shorewood third with 259 and Nicolet sixth with 168.

The Highlanders won that meet opening medley relay as Chloe Lewis, Cheyanne Carbone, Mary Gabe, Maggie Stolz, Maiya Hilliard, Casey Hagen, Hannah Happ and Ellie Poole combined for a 3:55.58 time. Bay was second. Stolz then came back to win the 50 breaststroke in 32.69, Gabe was second and Monique Ma fifth.

Shorewood's Claire Chamberlain won the 100 individual medley (1:00.86) and the 100 free (54.42); while Bay's Maggie Smith claimed the 50 free (25.19), and the Blue Dukes also took the 100 free relay (51.74) and 500 free relays (4:32.57).

Nicolet freshman diver Calli Head won her specialty (389.85 points, sixth-highest in school history).

Area seconds included the following: 200 free - Lewis, Homestead; 100 individual medley - Hilliard, Homestead; 50 butterfly - Annelise Sprau, Bay; 100 free - Smith, Bay; 200 individual medley - Ellen Stello, Shorewood; 100 free relay - Homestead; 50 backstroke - Lissy Maercklein, Bay; and 500 free relay - Shorewood.

Davis, who was very pleased with the effort of Taylor Winter, said he's happy to host this type of meet every year.

"It's really interesting to see how coaches put things together here," he said. "Some just tell their kids 'Surprise me.' "

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