Bluejay Girls Swim Team update from State

The Merrill Girls Swim Team and the drumline after their parade through the halls of Merrill High School before boarding the bus to head to the State competition. Photo courtesy of Merrill High School Swim Team.


The Merrill Bluejays Varsity Girls Swim Team traveled to the State Swimming and Diving Championship Competition last Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, at Waukesha South Natatorium in Waukesha.
The team of Addison Jirovec (Sophomore), Olivia Pajtash (Junior), Marissa Miles (Freshman), and Claire Jirovec (Sophomore) competed in the 200 Yard Medley Relay and placed 16th with a time of 1:57.95.
Olivia Pajtash was also there to compete in an individual event–the 500 Yard Freestyle. She came in 14th with a time of 5:35.28.
Rhinelander swept all three relays and won the Division 2 State title with 308 points. Whitefish Bay was second with 221, followed by Edgewood with 208.

Addison Jirovec leads off the 200 yard Medley Relay with Backstroke start. Bob Mainhardt photo.
Addison Jirovec swims the backstroke leg of the 200 Yard Medley Relay. Bob Mainhardt photo.

“While the Medley Relay placed 16th, just qualifying is a huge accomplishment,” said Merrill Varsity Head Swim Coach Kristie Winter. “They should be very proud. We have a very young talented team; gaining this experience with the Relay is just going to make them better next year. It really gives the Team a goal to work for.”
“Olivia really came out of her comfort zone and had a personal best swim, moving her up a spot from where she was seeded,” Winter said. “She was able to pull ahead of the Rhinelander swimmer who had beaten her by just .05 at Sectionals. A very exciting race for her.”

Marissa Miles swims the Butterfly leg of the 200 yard Medley Relay. Bob Mainhardt photo.
Olivia Pajtash swims in the 500 yard freestyle event at the WIAA state swimming and diving championship. Bob Mainhardt photo.

Prior to leaving for the competition, the Swim Team celebrated with a mini parade, complete with drumline, through the halls at Merrill High School. “We are so lucky to have great community support,” Winter said. “The girls started their day off with a parade through school with the drum line, the team parents decorated the bus, then they were escorted out of town by the Police and Fire Departments past both Washington and Prairie River Middle School where students and teachers came out with signs to cheer them on. It builds so much excitement knowing everyone is supporting them.”

The Washington Elementary School kids brought out handmade signs to wish the girls luck, and they had a lot of fun waiting for their entourage to pass by. Tina L. Scott photo.
Students at Washington Elementary School in Merrill head outdoors to cheer on the Merrill Varsity Girls Swim Team as they leave town. Tina L. Scott photo.
Friday was cold, with a few snowflakes coming down, but that couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Merrill Varsity Girls Swim Team as they headed down to State or the Washington Elementary School kids who lined the streets to cheer the girls on. The bus was escorted through town by the Merrill Police Department and Merrill Fire Department. Tina L. Scott photo.
Excited to be heading to the State Tournament! Photo courtesy of Merrill Varsity Swim Team.

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