It was a new year, a new coach and a lot of new, inexperienced competitors for the Shorewood girls swimming team this fall.
But expectations remained the same: a Woodland Conference title and several state qualifiers.
The Greyhounds almost got the first goal on Oct. 29, when they finished a competitive second to Greenfield/Pius in the Woodland meet.
First-year coach Cassie Peterson was over the moon about the effort.
"I am insanely proud of how the girls swam," she said. "Some were tapered or rested while others weren't at all, and they really stepped up big time. We had almost all best times throughout the day, and many of them placed higher than they were seeded."
The Greyhounds will look to build on that effort at the WIAA D2 sectional meet at New Berlin Eisenhower at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. The winner of each event plus all those whose efforts are among the next 12 best out of all the sectionals in the state advance to the WIAA D2 state meet in Madison on Nov. 11
Peterson remains optimistic.
"This (the conference meet) makes decisions hard for who will swim at sectionals on Saturday, but I think we have a great chance at qualifying our 200 medley relay and a few individual events as well," she said.
Shorewood looked to be prime position to do so, after the strong finish in the conference test, as it scored 375 points for its spot. Greenfield/Pius won with 391.5.
The remarkable thing for the Greyhounds was that they achieved this without benefit of a single first- or second-place finish.
Taking thirds were Maya Schneider in the 200-yard individual medley (2:18.8) and Sophie D'Amato in the 50 free (26.16), while fourths went to 200 medley relay team of Schneider, Anna Czubak, Leah Jorn, and D'Aamto (1:56.87); D'Amato in the 100 free (56.61); Lucy Phillips in the 500 free (5:41.9); the 200 free relay team of Parker Kuehl, Amalia Arndt, Jorn and D'Amato (1:47.99); Czubak in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.04); and the 400 free relay team of Phillips, Chloe Schneider, Grace Anderson and Maya Schnieider (3:56.15).
Other good efforts included the following: 200 free: Phillips, fifth (2:08.54); 100 butterfly: Jorn,fifth (1:03.6), Chloe Schneider, sixth (1:05.06); 500 free: Erin Szablewski, fifth (5:41.96), Maya Schneider, sixth (5:42.93); and 100 backstroke: Chloe Schneider, sixth (1:05.35).
Peterson praised many for their efforts.
"The biggest surprise of the day came from freshman Zoe Tiffin who dropped nine seconds in her 100 breaststroke to go a 1:16.96 and place ninth," she said. "Maya Schneider's third in the 200 IM (2:18) was also a huge for us.
"What really made the day great were events like the 50 free and 500 free where we had at least five girls in the top 16."