Girls Swim and Dive comes out victorious in the Battle of the Hills, 103-80


Emotions ran high Tuesday night as the Rangers faced the combined team of their rivals, Northern and Eastern. It was not only personal for the swimmers as first-year coach Dennis Neat faced his former team of 20 years. Winning was the goal, one that was easily achieved as the Girls Swim and Dive team dominated in the Battle of the Hills, winning 103-80.

“I felt pretty confident that we were going to win,” said Senior Molly Weiblen. “We see them practicing everyday and we usually practice harder and put in more work than them.”

Molly’s confidence helped her to have a successful night, as she placed second in the 50 Freestyle and first in the 100 Butterfly.

The coaches and swimmers were so confident going into this meet in fact, that many girls swam events that they rarely swim.

“We did a lot of changes to the lineup to see where we are at this mid-season point and just to kind of stretch the diversity of every individual swimmer,” Head Swim Coach Dennis Neat said. “This was an opportunity to become a better, more well-rounded team.”

Despite these event changes, the Rangers were still extremely successful. Individually, FHC had two top-three-place sweeps: freshman Emily Johnson took first, sophomore Maggie Zorn second, and junior Katie Johnson third in the 100 Freestyle. Also, sophomore Kaylyn Whitten placed first, sophomore Elena Folkert second, and freshman Ellie Field third in the 100 Breaststroke.

Sophomore Sarah Schenck had another big night, taking second in the 100 Backstroke and first in the 200 IM. The Rangers then went on to have a have third place finishes by sophomore Olivia Luplow in the 200 IM, junior Katie Johnson in the 200 Backstroke, and senior Abby Hier in the 100 Butterfly. Maggie Zorn added another strong swim, taking first in the 50 Freestyle. Sophomore Hailee Sincerbeaux clocked in with a season best and state cut time of 5:43.78 while claiming first place in the 500 Freestyle.

The diving portion of the meet was much closer. Senior Nicole Carlson placed fourth, senior Colleen Kramer third, and junior Anna Hansen second, narrowly beaten out by a very talented diver from FHNE.

“I was pretty prepared for this meet,” Anna said. “I’m happy with how I did, it was probably my second best performance ever. It’s just the difficulty of the dives that kind of played out at the end to determine the scores.”

The diving team’s night was not over after the diving portion of the meet as it usually is. The three divers, as well as junior swimmer Jessica Schellenboom, also competed in the 200 Freestyle Relay, taking fifth. The other three relays in the 200 Freestyle placed second, third, and fourth, while the relays in the 400 Freestyle Relay placed second, third, and fifth. Having the divers swim is a tradition of Neat’s, one that is enjoyable and exciting for the whole team.

“Swimming in a relay was a lot of fun,” Anna said. “I’m a little bit disappointed in my time actually, I was a second off from my goal. Swimming in that relay definitely makes me respect the swimmers more because we see how hard they work in practice and when you go do it in a meet, you realize just how hard it is.”

The divers’ swimming abilities were better than expected from most of the swim team.

“The divers surprised us with their speed, it was very impressive,” said junior Jayla Williams.

This key win keeps the Lady Rangers undefeated in the conference and on the path to achieving the goal of Conference Champions. Next week, Tuesday October 10, the Lady Rangers compete against the Cougars of Catholic Central.

“The next meet will be competitive,” Neat said. “We have to stay healthy and keep practicing hard every day.”

For now, the team is pleased with their win and the success that their hard work is bringing.

“I think overall the team did really well,” Neat said.”We got some cuts, we got some best times, and everyone swam their hearts out.”