Nicolet girls swimming coach Bill Shuster laughed and said, "yes," semiretired Knight legend Dwight Davis was at the Knights' annual Sprint Invitational on Sept. 17, keeping busy and likely putting other spectators to work, too.
"I found him something to do," Shuster chuckled. 'We kept him busy, and he kept others busy, too."
And it was a good thing because there are always things going on at this midseason break from serious competition and training with its eight- and 10-person relays and shorter races. Davis thought up the meet years ago to maintain the interest of the kids. It is run during both the girls and boys seasons.
Usually, many of the area teams come by to have a good time, just as they did Sept. 17, as Homestead won with 369 points, Whitefish Bay was second (350½), Nicolet fourth (262½), Shorewood seventh (167) and Brown Deer/University School eighth (152).
Homestead coach Becky Young was pleased with the effort. The Highlanders were also second in the North Shore Conference Relays on Sept. 13.
"The invite was truly an amazing team effort. We were able to place at least one person in the top eight in every individual event, which made for an exciting day," she said ."Nearly every athlete we had at the meet contributed to the overall team score. Our athletes who placed 13th, 14th, 15th, really made the difference".
Among the curious things about the meet is that diving is held after the swimming, not before as at most invitationals. And going into the diving, Homestead was behind Bay in the team standings, but that changed as state place-winning Highlander diver Sami Nickerson won her specialty with a 470.55 point total. Bay did not have an entry in diving.
"At least we can say we won the swimming portion of the meet," said veteran Blue Duke coach Jim Davis.
Other wins for Homestead included the eight-person 400-yard medley relay (3:53.05) and the eight-person 200 free relay (1:46.35) and Lindsey Bjornstad in the 100 free (54.03).
Other top finishes for the Highlanders included the following: 200 free: Maddie Gruman, third (2:05.53); 100 individual medley: Leah Tunney, second (1:03.64), Jayci Scheff, fourth (1:05.12); 50 free: Bjornstad, second (24.88), Talia Gottlieb, third (25.1); 50 butterfly: Gottlieb, third (28.38); 200 IM: Kailey Carbone, third (2:26.78); 50 backstroke: Tunney, third (28.53); and 50 breaststroke: Caitlyn Lansing, third (32.85), Cat Seiberlich, sixth (34.26).
Young was very happy with the effort of her younger swimmers.
"Freshman Kailey Carbone had an outstanding meet," she said. "She has stepped up in a huge way over the past few weeks and has really made a positive impact on the team".
Bay's Davis was also pleased with the showing of the Blue Dukes on the fun morning.
"It was a positive week," he said. "We had a lot of best times yesterday (Sept. 17), and a lot of kids scored (in the top 16). We had a lot of great races out there."
The Blue Dukes achieved their finish with balance, as the only victory came in the 10-person 500 free relay that won its race by close to three seconds (4:26.96).
Other good finishes for the Blue Dukes included the following: 400 medley relay: fourth (4:00.06); 200 free: Ines Bengana, second (2:04.4); 50 free: Heather Smallpage, fourth (25.85), Lydia Barnes, fifth (26.58); 100 free: Barnes, third (57.34), Bengana, fifth (57.54); 200 free relay: second (1:47.43); 50 backstroke: Emma Harris, sixth (30.72); and 50 breaststroke: Allie Longacre, fifth (34.13).
Davis noted that the meet medaled to eighth place and that events like the 100 IM and the 50 free were highly successful for the Blue Dukes.
He was very happy for the 500 free relay unit that included a mix of veterans and newcomers and was finished off by Bengana and Smallpage.
"We were fourth, then third, then second," Davis said. "The kids were really pumped."
He said the day was a blast, as usual.
"This meet is always run well with good competition and a lot of fun," he said.
He was also happy with the Blue Dukes' third-place finish at the North Shore Conference Relays.
Shuster agreed with Jim Davis that the meet certainly met its fun quotient.
"It really did, and we had our high notes, too," he said.
Those included Taylor Hall winning the 50 free (24.86) and Elizabeth Sullivan taking a strong second in the 50 breaststroke (32.25). He also cited freshman Keona Cirulis for her strong races.
"She did a terrific job," said Shuster of Cirulis. "We had a good day, but there are some things we still have to work on. It comes with the territory."
Nicolet was also fourth at the NSC Relays.
Other good efforts for the Knights at the Sprint Invite included the following: 400 medley relay: second (3:58.37); 200 free: Ana Eurich, fifth (2:08.57), Megan Sullivan, sixth (2:08.93); 100 IM: Cirulis, fifth (1:06.11); 200IM: Cirulis, second (2:24.04); 200 free relay: fourth (1:52.48); and 500 free relay: second (4:29.96).