Franklin swim continues to defy odds, qualifies four entries to state
Beck advances in three events
These competitors and coaches on the Franklin boys swim team are something else.
They don't mind losing top state-level performers (Josh Lefeber) to graduation, they're selfless (coach Ross Lennertz took part in the freezing cold Muskego Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on Sunday) and they are innovative (August Beck competed in both the sprints as well as diving).
And they've become remarkably successful, too, as the Sabers advanced three individuals and a relay to Saturday's WIAA Division I state meet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison natatorium.
"Everyone said that after last year 'that's it' for us," Lennertz said. "When Josh (Lefeber) graduated, that would be the end for us, and here we are - we qualified only less relay than we did last year and the 200 free relay without Josh is only 0.70 off the school record we set last year with him.
"The seniors stepped back, took a look at themselves and then everyone stepped up. It's been very rewarding."
Beck, a junior, will advance in the unique double of diving and the 50-yard freestyle and he will get help in diving from sophomore Andy Schauer. In addition, Beck likely will anchor the 200 free relay that includes senior Takuto Kobayashi, senior Austin Koska and senior Sam Karolewicz.
The diving portion of the state meet will get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday with swimming to commence at 3 p.m.
Lennertz can't say enough about the leadership Beck has shown this winter.
"He's always wanted to dive and swim," said Lennertz, "but diving has been his major thing, but he puts in extra time (to get training yardage in the pool) and he comes in and does double workouts, lifting with the swim team after his diving workout.
"He's gone way above and beyond what we expect of him. I'd like him to swim more, but obviously he's a talented diver."
Lennertz also is convinced the relay can threaten the school record that was set at the state meet last year.
The Sabers' qualifying efforts pushed them to a third-place finish of 267 points in the WIAA sectional at Greenfield on Saturday as the host Greendale/Greenfield PantherHawks won with 336.5 and Racine Case was second with 305.
Beck and Schauer got the meet off to a good start for the Sabers by taking second (385.85 points) and third (362.6), respectively. Racine Park's Andrew Suchla, who likely will shatter the state record Saturday, dominated the event with a score of 609.2.
Beck then turned in an impressive personal best of 22.3 seconds in winning the 50 free by 0.08 of a second, Kobayashi, despite a rough start and rough turn, was fourth in a good time of 23.16.
That pair then helped the 200 free relay drop close to 3 seconds off its season best and take second with a qualifying time of 1:31.56. Greenfield/Greendale won the race in 1:31.14.
In another noteworthy effort, the 400 free relay team, which had qualified for state last season with a school-record effort, came up a bit short of qualifying again, but still dropped close to 6 seconds off its season best with a third-place effort of 3:26.47.
The 400 team was made up of Karolewicz, Kobayashi senior Nick Banach and Beck.
Lennertz said Beck was amazing on both relays, splitting a 21.07 on his 50 leg in the 200 free and turning in a 49-second-plus 100 split for the 400 team.
"He and everyone else just worked their tails off," Lennertz said.
Other noteworthy efforts by event: 200 medley relay - Banach, senior David Ciszewski, freshman Andrei Conrad and Koska, sixth (season best 1:50.7); 200 free - Karolewicz, ninth (personal best 2:00.83); 200 individual medley - Conrad, seventh (seven-second PB 2:10.22), Banach, ninth (2:16.48);100 butterfly - Conrad, seventh (PB 57.34), junior Bailey Plewa, ninth (1:00.59); 100 free - Kobayashi, third (PB 51.26); 500 free - freshman Luke Gavronski, ninth (PB 5:29.03), Karolewicz, 10th (nine-second PB 5:31.48); 100 backstroke - Banach, seventh (PB 1:00.9).
Lennertz said the team members should hold their heads high when they enter Madison this weekend.
"We're not a super-strong team," he said, "but we made up for what we lost."
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