Nicolet boys swim coach Bill Shuster remembered well the feelings and expressions his Knights displayed following their impressive championship in the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet at Whitefish Bay on Feb. 11.
The last time the Knights won a sectional title, he was part of it.
"It was my senior year (2007)," he said. "We had Bill McCarty, Steve (Cebertowicz) guys like that. We had actually been talking as a team for most of the season about this. This one was one of our main goals. We really thought we could come in here and wreak havoc on this meet.
"We came in very confident, and we started off well right off the bat with the (200) medley relay and just felt confident in what we were doing."
The Knights more importantly qualified eight individuals and two relay teams to the WIAA state meet at the UW-Madison Natatorium on Friday, Feb. 17. Diving will be held at 2:30 p.m. with swimming timed finals commencing at 6:30 p.m.
The four state-medal laden seniors, Riccardo Romersi (50 and 100-yard freestyles), Collin Siverhus (200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke), Dylan Hall (100 backstroke and 200 IM) and Ben Cook (100 butterfly) will be joined by junior diver Max Sorin.
In addition, the four seniors will man both the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams.
Romersi was D2 runner-up in the 50 free last year and Shuster said he's very motivated for his final go-around as are all the Knight swimmers who have six of their 10 qualifying swims participating in the fast heat.
"I think it's going to be a fun day for these guys," said Shuster. "We'd like to finish in the top 10 and if things go well, maybe the top five. The guys have put in a lot of good work lately and they're ready."
Nicolet was sixth last season in the team standings. Defending champ Monona Grove is loaded again.
The Knights put themselves in this position with their convincing effort at sectional, scoring 337 points for their victory in the 12-team field. Elkhorn was second with 295.
They won six events as Romersi took the 50 free (21.57 seconds) and the 100 free (47.89), while Cook won the butterfly (55.73) and Hall claimed the backstroke (55.36).
In addition, the 200 medley relay team of Hall, Siverhus, Cook and Romersi won by seven seconds in a season best of 1:39.28 while the same grouping dropped a second off its best time in taking the 200 free relay (1:29.97).
Siverhus was second in the 200 individual medley with a season best 2:00.6, while Hall was third (2:03.96). Siverhus was second in the 100 breaststroke. The first-year diver Sorin earned his spot with a fifth place finish (286.75 points).
The Knights almost had a surprise third relay qualifier as the 400 free team of Chris Hellman, Brady Mandella, Alex Malsch and Cook came up just .28 of a second away from a qualifying spot when it took fourth (3:29.56). It was a seven-second season best for the group.
"Everyone dropped time," he said. "There were a lot of lifetime bests out there. Even guys who had been tapered for the conference meet the week before held their taper and turned in best times. That's very hard to do. The kids are just staying confident and feeling good."
Shuster was also very happy for the first-year diver Sorin.
"It was an awesome day and we've still got a lot more swimming to do," Shuster said.