With no dual meets this past week and in the stretch run of the hardest training portion of the season, the Whitefish Bay girls swimming team got a chance to do what veteran coach Jim Davis likes best.
"We got in a good unbroken run of hard, consistent practice," he said. "It was a good, long week, and the kids were a little beat up at the end of it. Most of them were pretty sore."
So Davis decided to give them a break and take them out to Cedarburg on Saturday, Oct. 8, for the Bulldog Invite, where much to the Blue Dukes' own surprise, they took a strong second in the eight-team field.
"Overall, we did pretty well," Davis said, "and the times were OK for this time of the year because most of them are just hanging on (because of workout fatigue). Some a little better than others."
The Blue Dukes will travel to Homestead for a North Shore dual meet Oct. 13 and then will prepare for the State Small School Swim Invite at Shorewood at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. The meet will feature several of the elite of the WIAA D2 state field, including Madison Edgewood, Ashwaubenon, Plymouth, McFarland, Berlin/Green Lake and others. Area squads Shorewood, Brown Deer/USM, Whitnall, Grafton, Brookfield Academy and others will also be there.
Bay will try to match the success it had in the Cedarburg meet, as the Blue Dukes scored 403 points for their spot. As expected, host Cedarburg won the meet with 554 points, and Waukesha North was a distant third with 313.
The Blue Dukes did not take any firsts in the event but used depth to earn its place. Top-three finishes included a two-three effort from Lydia Barnes (2:03.46) and Ines Bengana (2:03.56) in the 200-yard freestyle; Heather Smallpage with a third in the 50 free (25.64); and a second from the 200 free relay team of Lydia Barnes, Ceci Hutt, Bengana and Smallpage (1:45.07).
Other top efforts included the following: 200 medley relay: Emma Harris, Gretchen Grams, Sara Desing and Smallpage, fourth (1:58.87); 200 individual medley: Wynne D'Souza, sixth (2:26.75), Desing, eighth (2:28.42); 100 butterfly: Harris, seventh (1:06.38);100 free: Smallpage, fifth (57.01), Barnes, sixth (57.53), and Grams, eighth (58.81); 500 free: Bengana, fourth (5:39.83); 200 free relay: Allie Longacre, Britta Wellenstein, D'Souza and Megan VanLoon, eighth (1:54.38); 100 backstroke: Kate Murphy, sixth (1:06.54); 100 breaststroke: Libby Muth, sixth (1:16.05); 400 free relay: Barnes, Desing, Grams and Bengana, fifth (3:59.1), Sabrina Fox, Murphy, Longacre and Van Loon, seventh (4:09.16).
Davis was pleased with the effort.
"We knew that we were never going to catch Cedarburg,'" Davis said, "but we're quite happy with taking second. It was fun seeing some of the inside team competition. Ines (Bengana) and Lydia Barnes in the 200 free really stood out. Good solid stuff between teammates."
Smallpage also came in for praise for her 50 and 100 free efforts.