In a 13-team swimming and diving meet dominated by perennial powers, it’s easy to overlook stellar performances by middle-of-the-pack squads.
Even so, there was no mistaking the impression Grafton’s Al Nennig made at the annual Bulldog Invitational in Cedarburg last Saturday.TIM WALCH of Port Washington churned through the water during the backstroke leg of a relay race in a North Shore Conference meet against Whitefish Bay last week. Photo by Sam Arendt
All the junior did was win two individual events and swim on a first-place relay team — efforts that gave the Black Hawks 72 of their 197 points.
“Al had another outstanding meet,” Grafton coach Mark Minz said. “He showed why he’s one of the top swimmers in the area and in the state.”
Nennig’s solo victories came in the 50-yard freestyle (22.16 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (59.32). In the 200 freestyle relay, he combined with Brad Kempka, Ben Gosselin and Kieran Paddock for a winning time of 1:33.17.
The same foursome also posted a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:46.89).
The Hawks’ other first-place effort came from sophomore Zach Greenwood in diving. Greenwood scored 307.7 points, edging runner-up Ray Mayek of West Allis (307.1).
Grafton finished sixth in the meet, which was won easily by host Cedarburg with 425 points. Shorewood and Racine Case shared second place with 310 points, and Kiel and the West Bend co-op team tied for fourth with 243.
Port Washington was eighth with 130 points.
“It was a good meet for us,” said Minz, who noted that his swimmers had 16 season-best times.
“We had a lot of strong swims, and Zach Greenwood had a very steady, solid performance in diving.”
The Hawks’ other top-10 finishes were a fourth by Gosselin in the 100 freestyle (52.95), fifth by Kempka in the 50 freestyle (23.5), eighth by the 400 freestyle team of Ben Helm, Gosselin, Keegan Hollrith and Kempka (3:43.02) and 10th by Killian Mielotz in diving (239.8 points).
Port coach Steve Schiessl was impressed with the performance of his team, which was led by Alex Mehre’s sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (59.88).
“We had (season) best times from about 80% of our swimmers,” Schiessl said.
“We’re getting faster, and our young kids are a little more versatile with the number of events we can use them in.”
Port’s other top-10 finishes were ninths by Connor LaCosse in the 100 freestyle (54.47), J.B. Nosko in the 500 freestyle (5:24.97) and the 400 freestyle team of LaCosse, Stephen Nosko, J.B. Nosko and Guy Biondi (3:43.58) and a 10th by the 200 medley team of J.B. Nosko, Callum Toal, Mehre and LaCosse (1:53.14).
Whitefish Bay 95, Port Washington 91
The host Pirates gave Bay a battle before being edged in a North Shore Conference meet Jan. 5.
Port won only three of 12 events but used its depth to stay close.
The Pirates’ first-place finishes came from LaCosse in the 200-yard freestyle (2:00.45), Mehre in the 100 butterfly (59.54) and Toal in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.72).
Taking second for Port in individual events were J.B. Nosko in the 200 individual medley (2:23.28) and 500 freestyle (5:26.73), Blaze Nalezinski in the 50 freestyle (26.24) and breaststroke (1:15.02) and Tyler Phillips in diving (150.1 points).
The Pirates’ next meet will be the Manitowoc Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 14.
Nicolet 117, Grafton 69
The host Hawks didn’t have the depth to stay in contention in a North Shore Conference meet Jan. 5.
Grafton’s four first-place finishes came from Nennig in the 200 freestyle (1:49.7) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.44), Kempka in the 100 backstroke (1:13.25) and the 200 medley team of Kempka, Nennig, Ben Stewart and Gosselin (1:51.21).
Nennig’s freestyle time shattered a school record of 1:52.8 that had stood since 1984.
Placing second for Grafton were Kempka in the 50 freestyle (23.47), Gosselin in the 100 freestyle (53.63), the 200 freestyle team of Ben Helm, Brett Rasmussen, Stewart and Kempka (1:43.6) and the 400 freestyle team of Helm, Gosselin, Tyler Kish and Nennig (3:44.0).
The Hawks’ next meet will be Thursday, Jan. 12, when they host Whitefish Bay at 6 p.m.