Record breaking swim propels Jays to dual meet win
By Jared Schmeltzer
After winning their first dual meet in 20 years in 2018, the Merrill swim team seems to be trending in the right direction, winning their first dual meet of the 2019 season over Medford by a score of 102-68 on Tuesday night, Aug. 27.
In 2018 the Merrill swim team defeated Medford 98-72, marking their first dual meet win in the last 20 years. Following their win the Bluejay swimmers went on a tear, going 3-3 in Wisconsin Valley Conference dual meets and 2-0 outside of conference. The Jays then not only swam well at the WIAA Division 2 Sectionals, but they took first place as a team to advance to the WIAA Division 2 State Tournament. At state Merrill had some great individual performances, which boosted their team to a 10th place finish.
On Tuesday night the Jays came out ready to roll, taking first place and breaking a school record in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay. The relay team consisting of Amber Winter, Camryn Schulz, Trinity Kanitz and Erin Kanitz, swam a time of 1:59.03, inching out Medford by two seconds. “By taking first place and setting a new school record, we set the momentum and showed that we were here to race,” said Merrill head coach Kristie Winter. “We took the lead in that event and we expanded that lead as the meet progressed.”
The 200-yard medley wasn’t the only event this relay team would win, as they also took first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay in dominating fashion, beating the second place team by nearly 28 seconds. “I have high hopes these girls will work well together this season and continue to improve,” Winter said about her star studded relay team. “They have their sights set on the state meet in November for both the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays.”
Outside of relays, the Merrill swim team won five events to seal the win over Medford. Emma Pajtash took first place in the first solo event, swimming a time of 2:20.89 in the 200 freestyle. Amber Winter followed with a first place finish in the 200-yard IM, swimming a time of 2:24.01. Trinity Kanitz had herself a good night, taking first place in the 50-yard freestyle with a swim of 26.57 and following it up with a first place finish in the 500-yard freestyle, where she won by over a minute, with a time of 5:43.87. Winter then closed up the solo swims, with a first place finish in the 100 yard breaststroke, swimming a time of 1:13.29.
“I am so impressed with the team this season,” comments coach Winter. “They all came in ready to swim and are already cutting time in personal events. This is just a glimpse of what is to come. They have their sights set high.”
Following Thursday nights D.C. Everest pentathlon meet, Aug. 29, the Merrill swim team will have a two week break from competition. On Sept. 14, the team will head to Lodi High School for a multi-team meet. “The Lodi meet will be against some of the top teams in the Division 2 State race,” Winter added. “It mimics a dual meet line up, but against six teams we will not see until much later in the season. Some key teams are Edgerton and Monroe who always place well at state.”