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Aurora

Swimmers win first sectional in school history



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Liz Carlson took third in the 200 IM Saturday and fourth in the 100 butterfly. Mike Ramczyk.

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November 06, 2012 | 04:08 PM
Badger swim coach Glenn Biller woke up Sunday morning to a driveway full of flour and a front yard covered in toilet paper.

The night before, hours after winning sectionals for the first time in school history, the Badger girls swimmers paid Biller's house a visit at 10:30 p.m. They smeared flour all over his driveway and smothered a tree and shrubs with toilet paper. They threw in a rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" for good measure.

"They trashed my house," Biller joked Monday. "It's tough to get 50 pounds of flour off your driveway."

But Biller understood the celebratory antics. At Saturday's Kenosha Tremper Sectional, the Badgers nabbed first place with 375 points, nearly 50 points ahead of second-place Burlington. The Badgers (a co-op of Badger, Big Foot, Williams Bay, Westosha Central and Wilmot) won seven of 12 events. After finishing second at sectionals in 2011, the local girls brought the program its first sectional title in roughly 50 years of existence.

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While Badger has enjoyed plenty of individual accomplishments over the years, including state championships, this one was the result of a deep squad.

"I couldn't have asked for any better performances," Biller said. "I was nervous the whole meet. We really had to swim a perfect meet, and they did. Our depth came through. Depth wins championships. All my girls can score points."

Badger qualified two relays for state, winning the 200 freestyle (1:38.02) and 400 freestyle (3:37.09) despite playing it safe. According to Biller, each girl in the relay didn't move from the starting block until she saw her teammate's hand touch the wall. By rule, a swimmer can be extended over the wall to gain an advantage before diving into the pool.

"We made sure we were super safe," Biller said. "Even by doing this, we were right on top of our records."

Biller said the strategy helped avoid an early start, which would be a disqualification and would prevent a state appearance. Badger hasn't suffered a disqualification all season.

The winning relay teams consisted of Badger students Kaarin Quaerna and Evelyn Edge, Williams Bay's Carly O'Brien and Westosha Central's Anna Brooks. Brooks, a senior, also qualified for state by winning the 200 individual medley (2:05.58) and 100 breaststroke (1:06.09). O'Brien made state in two events, the 100 butterfly (first, 58.47) and 200 IM (second, 2:09.81). Quaerna qualified for state by capturing titles in the 50 (24.34) and 100 freestyle (52.64). Quaerna's 50 time was a personal best and places her in the top heet at state.

Along with the winners, Badger's depth helped it win the meet. The girls took the top three spots in the 200 IM. Liz Carlson placed third in the event after being seeded seventh. Other key finishers included Abby Chappell (seventh, 50 freestyle, 13th, 100 butterfly), Brianna Shane (14th, 100 butterfly), Brooklyn Carlson (fifth, 200 freestyle, fourth, 500 freestyle), Natalie Stratton (sixth, 100 backstroke), Sami DiVito (seventh, 100 breaststroke), Allison Clements (ninth, 100 breaststroke) and Edge (fourth, 50 freestyle, third, 100 freestyle).

The 200 medley relay team of Stratton, DiVito, Liz Carlson and Chappell took second and only missed first by .07 seconds. They were seeded third.

Badger will compete at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Natatorium Saturday at 3 p.m.

The 200 freestyle relay is in the fastest heet, and Brooks is in the fastest heet in both her individual events.

"It's nothing to lose and everything to gain," Biller said. "State is the icing on the cake. We will have fun and what happens happens."

Badger hasn't had a state champion since Emily Russart won the 100 breaststroke in 2008. Russart was also part of the 200 medley relay that also won the title. Biller said winning isn't out of the question.

"Both relays and Anna are right in the thick of it," he said. "We will need perfect starts and our best times. Why not? We're a small school facing some big teams. This is what movies are made of."

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