On Saturday, Dec. 2 the Phillips Wave swim team traveled to Merrill for a Central Wisconsin Swim Conference meet against teams from Merrill, Rhinelander, Ladysmith, Bayfield, Antigo, Fort McCoy, and Black River Falls. Head coach Kent Ertl said that although it is still early in the season, many Wave swimmers performed well and swam excellent times.

Mckenzi Franz, Kirsten Weik, Grace McCormick and Maria Surman all swam personal best times in each of their events.

“It’s not very often that a swimmer will achieve personal bests in every event, so to have four swimmers do it at the same meet was terrific,” said Ertl. “I’ve been waiting for Kirsten to put her considerable talent on display at a meet for a while now, hopefully, this is the start of a great season for her.”

Olivia Harding and Abi Kaliska also had an excellent meet by achieving their best times in three of the four individual events they competed in.

“Abi and Olivia are two of the hardest working swimmers on the team,” said Ertl. “They both put a lot of effort into every practice so it was good to see them swim well in Merrill.”

Several Wave swimmers had first place finishes at the meet. Michael Prochnow finished first in all four of his events, which included the 100 and 50 freestyles, the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke. Elise Ertl also won her four events, the 50 and 200 freestyles, the 100 backstroke, and the 50 breaststroke. Other first place finishes went to Sydney Young in the 200 IM and Michaela Ericksen in the 100 butterfly.

The Wave has several foreign exchange students swimming on the team this season. Jeongmin Hong, Phafai Vachirabanghong, and Marcel Vondrus all competed at Merrill and swam well.

“I’ve been very impressed with the positive attitude and hard work all of them have put in,” said Ertl. It’s very difficult to be a first year swimmer on a team where almost everyone else has been practicing and competing for many years. Sometimes I’m sure it’s all a little overwhelming for them, but they’ve done a great job fitting in to the team and we’re happy to have them swim with us this year.”

Assistant coach Rebecca Lovejoy works with the younger kids on the team and offered some insight about their meet.

“The kids are doing great so far,” said Lovejoy. “We have seen a ton of improvement from each of our swimmers. They are working hard to drop times and to clean up their technique. We had some great swims this weekend.”

Pooja Muruganandan, a newcomer to the team, placed second in the 25 freestyle and third in the 25 backstroke. Logan Bjork took second in the 50 breaststroke and third in the 9-10 year old 100 IM. Wyatt Graceffa, also a rookie, took third in the 25 butterfly and first in the 25 breaststroke.

“Coach (Caleb) Lallemont and I are both very excited by the hard work that every member on the team has put in, and we can't wait to see them continue to approve.”

The Wave’s next meet is Saturday, Dec. 14 in Rhinelander.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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