The girls of Grafton High School continued their rise as a power in Wisconsin High School swimming this weekend, winning the Division 2 state title. Grafton has steadily risen in the team rankings, finishing 13th in 2010, 8th in 2011, and 3rd place last fall. Wisconsin’s Division 2 houses the state’s smaller high schools.
Grafton was led by the duo of junior Samantha Senczyszyn and freshman Autumn Haebig, who each won 4 events on the day. Senczysyn took the 50 and 100 freestyles, Haebig the 100 fly and 500 free, and they combined to win the 200 and 400 free relays. Each girl broke a state record on the way, Senczyszyn in the 50 Haebig in the fly.
Despite the success of the Grafton pair, the swimmer of the meet had to be Shorewood junior Rachel Munson, who won two individual titles and a relay championship, breaking state records in all three swims.
The first of those record-breaking swims was the 200 medley relay, where Munson’s lightning-quick breaststroke split of 27.79 powered her Shorewood relay to victory and a state record. Joining her on the relay were Melissa Clausen, Eva Jorn and Kristin Malone, who tacked on a big 22.94 freestyle split to ice the victory. The relay won in 1:46.22 to shatter the old record by a full second.
Malone jumped right back in the pool to successfully defend her state title in the 200 free, although the tough double didn’t allow her to match her state record-holding time from a year ago. Malone, who will swim for Texas A&M next season, still went 1:49.81 (her 2012 record is 1:48.83) and powered away from the field in the final 50. New Berlin West junior Madison Tew kept things close early but couldn’t match Malone’s closing speed – she went 1:51.66 for second place.
Munson took home her second state record in the 200 IM, avenging a race where she finished 3rd a year ago. Her breaststroke split of 33.41 was nearly three seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Munson’s time of 2:03.00 broke an 11-year-old state record, 2:03.89 set by Lauren Breunig in 2002. There was a tight race for the silver medal, with Ashwaubenon senior Allison Teske sneaking in in 2:05.96, just ahead of Milton senior Bridgette Alexander (2:06.32) and Greendale sophomore Carolyn Jungers (2:06.74).
Though things had been all Shorewood to this point, Grafton was about to take control. Senczyszyn won the 50 free, cracking 23 for the first time in her career. She won in 22.91, breaking the old state record of 23.26 set by eventual Wisconsin Badger standout Beckie Thompson in 2007. Emma Bare was the only other swimmer in the field under 24, going 23.93.
Edgewood’s freshman diver Ginger Lingard won the diving event convincingly. Her score of 451.10 bested her teammate Gina Jacobson (390.00). Grafton added third and seventh place finishers with Gabby Kraus and Paige Schommer to add to its team point total.
After the diving break, Grafton’s Haebig picked up her first-ever state title, taking the 100 fly in a state-record 55.81. She had to fight off a strong field to win, though, as Rina Krupsky(2nd, 56.26), Katie Coughlin (3rd, 56.49), and Claire O’Connell (4th, 56.91) were all in contention most of the way.
The 100 free set up a high-calibur showdown between 200 freestyle winner and defending champion Kristin Malone and 50 free winner Samantha Senczyszyn. The race did not disappoint, coming down to just .05 seconds with Senczyszyn riding a strong back half to the win in 50.89. Malone went 50.94 for second, although her 2012 state record of 50.28 will still stand. Madison Tew was third in 51.37.
Then Haebig was back to pick up her second title, completing a tough double to win the 500 free just one event after taking the 100 fly. Her time of 4:56.54 took the race handily. Rina Krupsky of MacFarland, who was also coming off of the 100 fly, was second in 5:02.94.
Things were getting to be all Grafton by this point, and the 200 free relay was no exception. Haebig and Senczyszyn were joined by Natalie Keshemberg and Emma O’Brien, taking the relay in 1:36.45. The relay proved to be Haebig’s third win in a span of 4 events, a testament to the freshman’s endurance.
The 100 back was one of only two events on the day not won by Grafton or Shorewood. Milton senior Bridgette Alexander succesfully defended her 2012 title, winning the event in 56.21, though not breaking her own state record of 55.45 from 2012. Alexander has committed to the University of Kentucky for next year.
Rachel Munson was back at it in the 100 breast, putting up her most impressive swim of the night. She went 1:01.13, breaking her third state record of the night. The previous record was Munson’s 2012 effort of 1:01.37. She was head-and-shoulders above what was a relatively strong field: Emma Bare was second in 1:05.82 and four more swimmers went 1:06s.
Grafton sealed the team race in the 400 free relay, though. The team of Autumn Haebig, Natalie Keshemberg, Stephanie Haebig, and Samantha Senczyszyn took home Grafton’s second relay title with a time of 3:30.72, outlasting a late charge from Shorewood. Shorewood’s team of Melissa Clausen, Eva Jorn, Rachel Munson and Kristin Malone was second in 3:33.47. Munson and Malone put up impressive splits to make a run at Grafton, but Senczyszyn closed the door with a lights-out split of 49.34.
Top 5 Teams
1. Grafton 286
2. DeForest 202
3. Shorewood 188
4. MacFarland 184
5. Ashwaubenon 171