‘Hawks swim to top on senior night

From+left%2C+freshman+Cameron+Gidlow%2C+freshman+Luke+Piccione%2C+and+senior+%0AMcKenzie+Asplund+all+cheer+on+their+fellow+teammates+during+both+team%E2%80%99s+victories+on+Feb.+4.+Photo+by+Kimberly+Wethal

From left, freshman Cameron Gidlow, freshman Luke Piccione, and senior McKenzie Asplund all cheer on their fellow teammates during both team’s victories on Feb. 4. Photo by Kimberly Wethal

john miller, Staff Writer

With the WIAC Championships just around the corner, both the UW-Whitewater men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams picked up wins Feb. 4 vs. UW-La Crosse inside the Williams Center.

The Warhawk men won comfortably 190-109 to move to an overall record of 5-2, with a 2-2 conference record. The Warhawk women squeaked out a 151-149 victory, improving the team’s overall record to 6-1 and a conference record of 3-1.

Head coach Joel Rollings said he wants the team to keep it up.

“[I want the team to] just  keep racing with confidence like they have been,” Rollings said. “We got two more weeks, it’s not really time to back off.”

For the Warhawk women, sophomore Erin Hawker had an impressive day in the pool. Individually, Hawker finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.41, as well as first in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:29.27. Hawker also helped the Warhawks capture first in the 200-yard medley relay, and second in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Senior Sarah Arteaga individually had the top time of 2:13.23 in the 200-yard individual medley, and finished second in both of the backstroke events. Arteaga was also a part of the 200-yard medley relay team that took first for the Warhawks.

Freshman Meredith Gustafson and senior Margaret Lotzer each claimed first in two individual events.

For the Warhawk men, senior Dan Bielski led the charge with a noteworthy performance between the lanes. Bielski helped the 200-yard medley relay claim a first place victory over one of La Crosse’s teams 1:37.22 to 1:37.33. Individually, Bielski won both of the backstroke events with times of 52.94 and 1:56.26, and finished second in the
100-yard butterfly.

A trio of sophomores had productive outings as well for the Warhawk men. Patrick Abrahams, Thomas Stigler and Sam Amundson all were involved in two first places finishes.

Saturday marked senior day for the Warhawks. Before the meet, seniors were honored, including Spencer Twining. Twining was set to be a senior for the 2016-2017 season, but tragically died in a motorcycle accident in September of last year.

With senior day and the honoring of Twining, the meet was an emotional one.

“This is one of the best recruiting classes we’ve ever had,” Rollings said. “Obviously not having Spencer at this time is really hard for us, but we do the best we can moving forward and keep on remembering him, and not trying to forget but keep moving forward because we have to.”

Stigler talked about what that great senior class means to the team.

“They’re some of the best people we have,” Stigler said. “They really bring the team together as a whole.”

With a second place finish at the WIAC Championships last year for the men and third place for the women, the upcoming WIAC Championships offers little room for improvement. Coach Rollings, however, isn’t concerned about placement.

“We’re focused on us doing our own thing,” Rollings said. “Not to be too cliché, but just kind of each person does their job, advances, gets best times and everything else takes care of itself.”

Senior Grace Devine, who finished third in the 100-yard freestyle and was a part of the second place 400-yard freestyle relay team also had some words about the upcoming WIAC Championships, both from an individual and team standpoint.

“I’ve been swimming since I was eight, so it’s nothing new swimming at meets like this,” Devine said. “It’s my last meet of my entire career, so pretty scary, but I think I’m ready to end it on a really good note.”

Devine said the team is ready as well.

“As a team we’re all excited to finish on a strong note,” Devine said. “We know what it takes to do really well.”

The WIAC championships will run Feb. 16-18 at Brown Deer, Wisconsin inside the Schroeder Aquatic Center.

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