Big Changes Happening on August 7, 2019.

COUNTDOWN: DAYS HRS MINS SECS

Hawks hoping to enjoy sectional experience

Shawano will travel to Stevens Point
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Peter Fuller swims during a dual against Antigo on Jan. 24. Fuller owns the fourth-fastest time in the 500-yard freestyle and seventh-quickest time in the 200-yard freestyle heading into Saturday’s sectional.

After competing in the tough Great Northern Conference, the Shawano boys swim team will take on those same teams, plus a few others, Saturday during the Division 2 Rhinelander Sectional at the UW-Stevens Point Aquatic Center.

In order to qualify for state, an individual Shawano swimmer or relay must either place first in an event or be among the next 12-fastest individuals/relays from all the Division 2 sectionals.

GNC foes Antigo, Lakeland Union, Medford, Rhinelander and Tomahawk, along with Menomonie, Rice Lake, River Falls and Wausau East round out the 10-team sectional.

Shawano finished the conference portion of the season with a 5-5 record before placing fourth at the conference championship meet on Feb. 1. The team’s strong showing that day gives coach Jeff Easter plenty of confidence heading into the sectional.

“At our conference meet, we, as coaches, saw our guys swim some of the best times they have had this season,” said Easter early in the week. “Some of the injuries that plagued us earlier in the season seem to be a non-factor at this time. What is hurting us the most is Mother Nature and the many practices that we have had to miss leading up to conference and now as we approach sectionals. Our guys need to be swimming.”

Easter believes any of the team’s three relay teams could earn spots at state by having each member of the relay cut just a few seconds from their times at the conference meet.

Shawano’s 200-yard medley relay team enters the sectional with the fifth-fastest time (1 minute, 52.16 seconds), while Rhinelander, the GNC champions, own the top time (1:42.07).

Collin Buerman, Karson Rades, Camden Kroll and Josh Bergmann formed Shawano’s 200 medley relay at the GNC meet.

The Hawks 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams each enter the sectional with the sixth-fastest times. Shawano’s 200 freestyle team comes in with a time of 1:40.27, with Rhinelander holding the top time of 1:30.74. The Hawks’ 400 freestyle team has a time of 3:46.81, with Lakeland Union owning the top mark of 3:22.71.

At the conference meet, Peter Fuller, Wylee Springborn, Buerman and Kroll formed Shawano’s 200 freestyle team, while Fuller, Kroll, Buerman and Bergmann swam together in the 400 freestyle relay.

Should Shawano not advance any relays or individuals on to state, Saturday will mark the final high school swimming competition for Buerman, Rades, Bryce Stomberg and Seth Westphal. Knowing that, the Hawks are hoping to enjoy the sectional experience on Saturday, regardless of how things turn out in the pool.

“The fact that I’m a senior and this could potentially be my last meet, it kind of makes me sad,” Buerman said. “I’ve loved this sport since I started it as a freshman, but just to have that thought in my head makes me want to go harder and push my teammates even more, especially the ones in my relays so that we can get the good times we need and try and go to state.”

Shawano’s best chance to advance an individual to state, based on the sectional psych sheets, is Fuller in the 500 freestyle. Fuller comes in with a time of 5:31.84 in the endurance event.

Despite the top time of 4:59.72 by Lakeland Union’s Liam Hogan seeming like a big gap to try and overcome, Easter noted that perfecting some of the little things in the event could lead to a dramatic cut in time.

“In practice, I just focus on making sure I get in as much work as I can and then when it comes down to the competition, just swim my best and make sure that I feel like I left everything in the pool and gave it everything I had,” said Fuller on his mindset heading into the sectional. “And then if I make the time, great — if I don’t, I won’t feel too bad because I know I gave it all I had.”

Fuller also enters the sectional with the seventh-fastest time in the 200 freestyle. Buerman owns the 10th-best time in the 100 freestyle, Rades has the seventh-quickest 100 breaststroke time, and Michael Dickmann is ranked ninth in the 100 backstroke.

Regardless of what place the team’s relays and individual swimmers earn Saturday, Fuller said the team’s biggest goal is to try and achieve season-best times.

Swimming is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the finals scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.