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February 18, 2014 | 04:29 PM
RACINE — Five Badger swimmers will be swimming in Madison at the State Individual meet this Saturday. Before this season, the most swimmers Badger head swim coach Glenn Biller could remember taking to Madison was four.

"I've never taken five guys to state before, so as far as numbers go, this is fantastic," Biller said.

As a team, Badger took third place at the Racine Case sectional meet on Feb. 15, but five of 10 Badger swimmers advanced to state individually: Remy Glogovsky, Tom Ritzman, Jimmy Corpus, R.J. Szweda and Andrew Shane.

Shane won the 100-yard freestyle and took second in the 50-yard freestyle. Both his times qualified for state, which means he will be competing in both individual events on Saturday.

Glogovsky qualified in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke and two relay teams — Badger's 200- and 400-yard freestyle teams — also qualified.

"So yes, we are state bound," Biller laughed. "It's going to be a great week and we're really excited to get up to state. We've got a few seniors swimming for the last time at state. One's Tom Ritzman, and he's in a relay, so he gets to finish his career at state."

Ritzman will compete in the 400-yard freestyle relay, and Biller couldn't be happier.

"I knew (the 400-yard freestyle relay) was going to be right on the bubble," Biller said.

The top 24 relay times advance to state. Badger placed 23rd.

"We just needed a little help from the swimming gods, and they got 'em in," Biller said. "That allowed Tom Ritzman to go to state. You know, he had a fantastic meet. He dropped a ton of time and he's been working hard for many years. For him to go to the big show to end his career is pretty fantastic."

Biller said his team met its season goal last week after winning the Southern Lakes Conference meet. He called sending five kids to state "ending with a bigger bang."

"I don't think our focus was on trying to win (sectionals) as much as it was on trying to get a few guys to state and get some best times out there for everybody, which we accomplished," Biller said of the Feb. 15 sectional meet.

Biller said the team's success this season bodes well for the future of Badger's swim program.

A few young swimmers will be competing at state this weekend.

Biller counted off: "I've got one, two, three of the five are going to be returning next year," he said. "So they get to go and get a nice taste of what state is and what it's all about."

The boys have been preparing this week, Biller said, and he expects his swimmers to post some of their best times of the season.

"It's just an exciting environment; tons of people, everyone's screaming, it's just impossible to not get pumped up when you're at state," Biller said. "It's going to be a great day and a great experience for them."

The state meet begins 9 a.m. Saturday in the University of Wisconsin's natatorium.

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