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Making waves

Carly O'Brien speeds through the pool at the recent SLC meet. O'Brien will compete in four events at this weekend's state meet.

Evelyn Edge (from left), Kaarin Quaerna, Carly O'Brien and Anna Brooks pose after their conference title in the 200 medley relay a couple of weeks ago. (click for larger version)

November 09, 2011 | 07:30 AM
KENOSHA — When Anna Brooks broke former Badger swimming standout Maddie Clark's freestyle records recently, it was quite an accomplishment.

But when she bested her own school records at Saturday's Kenosha Tremper Sectional, Brooks solidified her status as the real deal in not only the state but the nation.

Led by Brooks' victories in the 50 and 100 freestyles, the Badgers raced their best overall meet of the season when it counted most. They took second overall, just behind first-place Burlington.

Badger coach Glenn Biller, who has taken the Badger boys team to state and has coached former Badger great Emily Russart, said this meet was a first for him.

"It was one of the best meets I've ever been a part of," Biller said. "Just about every girl dropped a lot of time. This was my best sectional ever. I've never had a full team do so well. They were excited to be there, and it was an amazing meet."

Brooks, Carly O'Brien, Leah Mikrut, Kaarin Quaerna and Evelyn Edge will represent Badger at Saturday's state meet at the UW-Madison Natatorium. Timed finals begin at 3 p.m.

Brooks will compete in four events. She won the 50 (23.81) and 100 (51.99) freestyles and absolutely floored her foes. Both times broke school, pool and sectional records. According to Biller, Brooks is a mere second or two from qualifying for the Olympic trials in both events. And she's only a junior.

"Anna never was a sprinter before this year," Biller said. "We moved her there this year, and it just clicked."

Joining Brooks, a Westosha Central student, will be Badger students Mikrut, Quaerna and Edge, as well as Williams Bay sophomore O'Brien. The team of Brooks, O'Brien, Quaerna and Mikrut won the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:52.53, where they shaved a whopping four seconds off their previous high mark. Sticking with relays, the 200 freestyle relay bunch of Brooks, Edge, Quaerna and O'Brien posted a winning mark of 1:38.65, a pool record.

Furthermore, O'Brien won the 200 individual medley, solidifying a lane in Madison. Her time of 2:12.93 is a personal best. O'Brien also qualified in the 100 butterfly. She took first with a time of 59.71, improving by more than a second.

"Carly was sick for most of the season with a hyperthyroid issue," Biller said. "She is really impressive."

As far as state goes, Brooks is seeded first in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle. The 200 freestyle squad is seeded third.

For Biller, it's all gravy from here after such an excellent collective swim.

"State is just the cherry on the sundae," he said. "We have already had a great year. It will be the first time at state for Mikrut (a senior) and Quaerna (freshman). It will be a great atmosphere, and I'm so excited for the girls to tear it up."

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