Witt-Birn girls swim team dives into new season

Chargers bring back several experienced swimmers
Molly Gretzlock

WITTENBERG — The Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School girls swim team eyes a successful season this fall with more swimmers on the roster than in previous years.

“Our main challenge continues to be small numbers,” said coach John Rudeen. “I think I will be lucky to have 10 swimmers this year, which fills enough events to be competitive in most meets.”

The Chargers’ 2018 swim season included a fourth-place finish at the seven-team Bay Conference Championship Meet and a fifth-place finish at sectionals. The team had eight swimmers on that roster.

Witt-Birn returns six of those athletes, including first-team all-conference swimmers Lauren Bahr, Christina Thrun, Isabella Hegewald and McKenna Metropulos.

Bahr and Thrun are seniors, while Metropulos is a junior and Hegewald a sophomore. Bahr and Thrun will try to help lead the younger swimmers on the team.

“Coming into senior year, our main goal is to help out the underclassmen. We are here to look over the freshmen who haven’t experienced a meet at the high school level, and then there are some people who haven’t swam before and decided to come out this year,” Bahr said. “We are just here to guide them and keep our team improving to hopefully make our last season the best season yet.”

Metropulos won the 500-yard freestyle at the conference meet along with helping form the top-finishing 200 and 400 freestyle relays with Bahr, Thrun and Hegewald.

Sophomore Alexa Chaney and senior Olivia Curley also were big parts of the team’s success last year.

Rudeen expects each team in the Bay to be tough competition. After wrapping up conference action, the Chargers will compete in the Division 2 Wisconsin Rapids sectional.

Witt-Birn opened practice Aug. 13. The team will get its first test of the season Wednesday, competing in a pentathlon in Colby, where swimmers have to compete in five events to earn a score.

The team’s first home meet at the Darwin Aquatic Center will be Aug. 27 against Clintonville.