Finding depth to go along with his well-known Big 4, Nicolet boys swim coach Bill Shuster thought his team could win the Brown Deer/USM Wildfalconcat Invitational on Dec. 10.
And the Knights did, taking the crown in fine going-away fashion for their first major title of the young season.
It was also an excellent bounceback for the Knights after a frustrating one-point loss (93-92) to North Shore Conference rival Grafton on Dec. 6.
"That loss was tough," Shuster said. "We had a couple of guys out sick who could have easily made up those points, but we wanted to be careful. Saturday was just a nice showing for our depth kids. It was really a very productive meet for us. A lot of season bests for those kids. It showed that the tinkering we've done in practice is starting to pay off."
The Knights have one of their big focal points of the season when they visit archirval Whitefish Bay at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, in the annual battle for "The duck." The duck, a ceramic model of a duck decoy, has been a traveling trophy for the two teams for decades. Nicolet won the dual last year.
"It's a big tradition for us," Shuster said. "It's not quite at the level that if we lose every other meet but win this one our season will be a success, but whoever does win this meet gets to feel a whole lot better about themselves the rest of the season."
The Knights can't help but feel good about themselves at this point in the season, as they won the six-team Wildfalconcat with 574 points. South Milwaukee was a distant second with 395 and Whitnall third with 352.
They won eight events in earning their victory.
Each of the Big Four earned at least one individual win, including Collin Siverhus in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.88) and the 500 free (5:16.81); Riccardo Romersi in the 50 free (22.29) and the 100 butterfly (57.63); Ben Cook in the 100 free (51.62); and Dylan Hall in the 100 backstroke (59.64). Cook was also second in the 50 free (23.53).
The Knights also won the 200 medley relay with Siverhus, Hall, Cook and Romersi (1:44.45) and the 400 free relay with the same quartet. Siverhus anchored the unit, which came across in a time of 3:28.04.
As noted by Shuster, this was a meet for the depth kids, Shuster said.
Other good efforts by them included the following: 200 medley relay: Hatton Parker, Will Nikolay, Don Vu and Brady Mandella, fifth 92:03.11); 200 free: Alex Malsch, fourth (2:04.44), Nick Holmes, sixth ( 2:17.78); 200 individual medley: Karmen Moos, fourth (2:45.17); 100 free: Malsch, fourth (56.57); 200 free relay: Malsch, Mandella, Vu and Ben Westfahl, second (1:47.87); 100 backstroke: Westfahl, sixth (1:14.69); 100 breaststroke: Nikoley, fifth (1:18.73); and 400 free relay: Ben Vuchetich, Malsch, Westfahl and Parker, fifth (4:08.51).
Shuster was very pleased with the effort of Moos in the IM as he was a last-second replacement for a sick teammate.
"When I told him, he was like, 'Are you sure?' but he did a great job for us."