Newcomers eager to get their feet wet


Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' Anna Schnell races in the 200-yard freestyle during Monday's swim meet in Huntingburg. Schnell was one of several swimmers at Monday night's quad meet at Southridge High School who is in their first year of swimming at the high school level. For more photos from the meet, click here.


HUNTINGBURG — We had a splashdown from a few swim teams at Southridge High School on Monday night as the Raiders hosted a four-team meet featuring the Northeast Dubois Jeeps, Forest Park Rangers, and Tecumseh Braves.

For the girls teams, Southridge finished first overall with 153 points, Forest Park came in second with 57, Tecumseh took third with 53, and Northeast Dubois finished fourth with 26. The Braves boys team led the pack with 100 points, followed by the Raiders (79) who just edged out the Jeeps (78). The Rangers finished with 16.

The Raiders relay teams put out a strong showing for the fans in attendance as the girls finished first (Adi Luker, Chaney Barrett, Jordan Biehl, Dori Sherer- 2:14.75) & second (Ana Hewitt, Claire Hentrup, Sasia Walz, Leah O’ Brien- 2:20.89) in the 200-yd medley, and took the top spots in the 200-yd freestyle (Barrett, Luker, Biehl, Cheyanne Motteler- 1:56.84) & the 400-yd freestyle (Barrett, Walz, O’Brien, Hentrup- 4:32.35).The boys finished second in the 200-yd medley (Adam Jochem, Leyton Lauderdale, Logan Hunter, Andrew Sander- 2:09.84), 200-yd freestyle (Sander, Hunter, Alex Biehl, Roy Owen- 1:52.99) and the 400-yd freestyle (Biehl, Hunter, Roy, Jochem- 4:11.42).

“I was real excited to watch them tonight,” said Kaetzel. “Times are getting faster, girls are staying strong. Freshman are really outstanding. I hope it was encouraging for them. These teams were more balanced with what we’ve got in terms of size, so it’ll help them see where they’re going. I’m excited to see how they’re going to go.”

Some of the highlights for Forest Park included first place finishes for sophomore Magda Alvis in the 200-yd IM (2:44.15), junior Josie Berg in the 50-yd freestyle (26.9) & 500-yd freestyle (5:59.45), and sophomore Ben Kluesner in the 100-yd butterfly (1:08.12) & 100-yd backstroke (1:04.11).

High marks for Northeast Dubois came with second place finishes for junior Colby Stafford in the 200-yd IM (2.36.93), sophomore Emily Merkley in the 100-yd backstroke (1:26.47), junior Trenton Harrison in the 500-yd freestyle (5:19.64), and sophomore Carter Beckman in the 100-yd breaststroke. Stafford also finished third in the 100-yd butterfly (1:16.70).

Forest Park's Magda Alvis, center, and Grace Wendholt, right, congratulate teammate Abby Hauser, left, after she finished swimming her leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay during Monday's swim meet in Huntingburg. The Ranger girls finished second overall with 57 points while the host Raiders took the girls crown with 153 points. Northeast Dubois was fourth with 26 points. For more photos from the meet, click here.

While everyone is still using this early portion of the season to cover their bases when it comes to cardio and technical skill, teams across Dubois County are also using this early pool time to get their newest members acclimated to the water and up to speed on what it takes to compete at the high school level.

Forest Park coach Rachel Berg like what she sees out of newcomers Grace Wendholt and Tyler Berger with just three weeks of work in the pool. Berg likes how coachable they are and how flexible they are when it comes to moving around to the different events to help the Rangers score points during the meets.

“They’re doing great,” she said. “They are hard workers, they do what I ask them to do, and they’re willing to try any event.”

Both swimmers are enjoying their time splashing around so far and are eager to get better as the season goes on.

“I did think it was going to be difficult, but I’m starting to get used to it,” said Berger, who was recruited to the team by Josie Berg. He finished in sixth place in both the 50-yd freestyle (33.65) and 100-yd breaststroke (1:50.97) “I’m trying to work on getting fast.”

“I’m still learning the ropes of things,” added Wendholt, who also swam in middle school. She finished fifth in the 50 yard freestyle (34.61) and fourth in the 100-yd breaststroke (1:47.56) She was also part of the relay teams which finished second in the 200-yd freestyle (2:05.30) and third in the 200-yd medley (2:23.19). “At first you have to step back and look at things, you can’t take it all in at once. It’s more of a learn as you go (thing).”

Anna Schnell is another former middle school swimmer making the transition to high school competition for the Jeeps. She credits her efforts in the preseason with helping her make a smooth entry into the water for Northeast Dubois. She finished fourth in the 200-yd freestyle (2:45.22) and 100-yd freestyle (1:14.21).

Southridge's Alex Biehl competes in the 200-yard freestyle during Monday's swim meet in Huntingburg. Biehl won the race with a time of 2:14.69 as the Raiders placed second overall on the boys side with 79 points, eding out third place Northeast Dubois by just one point. Forest Park was fourth with 16 points. For more photos from the meet, click here.

“I knew I had to work harder than I was in middle school,” she said. “I was here for preseason before mandatory practices and that helped me a lot. The transition has been pretty good for me.”

Northeast Dubois coach Kendra Friedman says it’s a special challenge to teach new swimmers the technique of the different strokes and feed them the pointers they need to know about how to maximize their swimming efforts through top and sharp turns. For her, the key is demonstrating patience and helping them understand that they’re not going to learn it all in a day.

“Swimming is a tough sport,” she said. “It takes years to become an expert at it. Those fundamental things is where you win races, so they have to get that down before we get more points.”

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