By Craig Marx, Editor
Losing Murron Roff will be a big blow to the Antigo girls swim team, but Coach Mary Ponasik and her 2016 group of ladies are ready to hit the pool at the Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center.
As of two weeks out from the start of the season, the Robins had 10 girls out for the team where Coach Ponasik said the squad usually averages roughly 12 or 13 swimmers. With the small size of the team, representing a Robin program that has existed for four years at the high school level, it is often difficult for Antigo to field three girls per an event in GNC meet.
Roff was a record setter in the 500 yard freestyle last season, taking a 2014 record of 5:46 down to 5:29 in 2015. Roff is now swimming collegiately at UW-Stevens Point, making her the first Antigo girls swim team member to move on and compete at the next level.
Antigo also graduated swimmers Lauren Gray, who excelled later in the 2015 season in the 50 yard freestyle, and Emily Tews, a 200-yard freestyle relay member and 100-yard backstroke participant.
The Robins do return Kate Stensberg, also a multi-event record holder and winner of the Great Northern Conference meet’s 100-yard backstroke three years running. Stensberg was named all-conference first team for the event in 2015.
Practice began on August 9 and Coach Ponasik has had the girls swimming two hours every day mixed with dry-land exercises and weight room training. The mixture of ages includes four seniors for the 10-strong Antigo team.
Newcomer Cassie Whyte also joins the Robins this year having never swam competitively before.
“The girls that have never swum before usually pick it up pretty quick. In a way, it is easier for them because they constantly see their times go down the harder the work, whereas a veteran might have one bad race and it will really affect them,” Ponasik noted.
Ponasik is in her fourth year at the helm of the Antigo program after spending the previous eight years with the Antigo Penguins Swim Club.
“It’s always exciting to see how fast the girls are to start the season and how they progress over the course of the year,” Ponasik said about her 2016 girls.
2016 AHS Girls Swimming Schedule
- Thur. Sep. 1 – at Medford – 5:30 p.m.
- Thur. Sep. 8 – vs. Ladysmith – 5:30 p.m.
- Thur. Sep. 22 – at Rhinelander – 5:30 p.m.
- Thur. Sep. 29 – vs. Tomahawk – 5:30 p.m.
- Thur. Oct. 6 – at Colby – 5:30 p.m.
- Thur. Oct. 13 – vs. Lakeland – 5:30 p.m.
- Fri. Oct. 28 – GNC Meet at UW-Stevens Point – 5 p.m.