A collegial bunch of boys swim coaches from the North Shore got together on Saturday at Nicolet for Knight coach Dwight Davis' annual foray into the quirky - the Knights' Sprint Invitational.
And when they weren't slapping each other on the back or telling bad jokes, they were congratulating each other's kids for their fine efforts as they participated in short, frantic races and chaotic eight and 10-man relays.
Shorewood took third in the 15-team meet that was won by Middleton. Whitefish Bay took sixth, Brown Deer/University School was seventh and host Nicolet placed 11th.
"Everybody seemed to have a pretty good time," said Davis, which he said was the point of the early-season event, along with with swimming fast.
Shorewood coach Rob McCabe, whose team broke their 60-plus year drought of conference titles last winter, was greatly encouraged by the effort.
"I am extremely happy with how these guys swam today," he said. "The two gold medal winning swims (senior Kasmir Bohannon's 50 free and junior Jay Tomasiewicz's 200 individual medley) energized the team. If we continue to swim like this throughout the season, this could be another fun year. This is great way to start the invite season."
The Greyhounds have only 16 people out this winter, but they are all quality in McCabe's eyes. Senior leaders include Bohannon, Andrew Eder, and Isaac Flegel-Mishlove while Tomasiewicz will be a top junior performer for McCabe.
Bohannon won the 50 free in 22.26 seconds while Tomasiewicz was clocked in 2:00.96, to win the 200 IM by more than three seconds. He was also second in the 100 IM in 56.25.
The Greyhounds also took third in the 400 medley relay and in the 10-person 500 freestyle relay while Bohannon earned the same spot in the 50 backstroke (25.72).
Whitefish Bay's D.J. Friesch beat Tomasiewicz to the wall in the 100 IM (55.7). Friesch, a senior, is one of the few state-level experienced hands that coach Jim Davis has back this season (senior diver Bobby Rinka is another). Friesch was also second in the 50 breaststroke (28.33).
Davis is pleased with a large group of overachievers, whom he hopes will help make up for a lack of high-level talent, a problem the Blue Dukes have not had to deal with much in the last decade.
Among them are seniors Taylor Young and Colin West; juniors Henry Bourgeois, Will Martinez-Ortiz, James Colton and Parker West, sophomore Henry Smith and freshmen Curtis Walther and Ethan Nikolau. Smith was fourth in the 200 free (1:53.67).
Last week, Bay defeated Nicolet in their annual battle.
"We lost a great deal last year, but kids are stepping up," said Jim Davis. "They're really trying to do their part. … They're working hard and they understand what they need to do if we want to be successful. I'm excited, because this season presents a lot of opportunities for some new guys."
Brown Deer/USM coach Bob Van Lieshout has experience in abundance and the time is now. He thinks his senior-heavy state-experienced squad can challenge Shorewood and New Berlin for Woodland honors.
Van Lieshout will build around 11 seniors, including Rob Davis, Colin Tubbs, Chris Myszewski, Steve Lillie, Dan Becker, Matt Daniels, Geoff Gillis, Sean Andryauskas, Michael Short, Jack Ladd and Ryan Murphy.
He's also high on his freshmen and sophomores, including sophomore veteran Billy Wong.
"This team is walking with confidence," said Van Lieshout. "They know how much better they can be."
The best finish for the Falcons at the Sprints was a second in the eight-man 200 free relay.
As for Knight coach Dwight Davis, this is going to be a rebuilding year.
"We've got great numbers (mid-40s), but we're really inexperienced. It's good that the kids are working pretty hard. We're doing a lot of technique work and the kids are doing everything up to their ability."
People Davis will count on include senior Chris Squire, and sophomores Jamie DeGraff, and Kyle and Evan Silverhus. Both Silverhus siblings are divers. Kyle Silverhus was fifth in the diving competition at the Sprints.
As far as the meet itself, it went fine in Davis' eyes.
"It's a long season, so we try to let everyone have a little fun right away," he said.
Boys swim season under way
Up Next: Shorewood and Brown Deer/USM took part in the Woodland Conference Relays at Cudahy on Wednesday while Whitefish Bay and Nicolet will take part in the North Shore Conference Relays at Cedarburg at 6 p.m. on Friday.
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