Haney, McClellan set up swimming showdown
Jennah Haney will cap off a brilliant high school swim career Friday night in the WIAA Division 2 state meet at the UW Natatorium in Madison.
The Milton senior won state titles in the 100 breaststroke as a freshman and sophomore, and despite finishing second a year ago, she broke the Division 2 state record with a time of 1:03.74. Plymouth’s Kate Criter won the event with a record time of 1:03.31. Haney also finished third last year in the 200 freestyle but will not swim the event this year.
Haney enters the state meet with the second-fastest qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke behind Delavan-Darien senior Emily McClellan, who was fifth a year ago.
“Jennah’s got that mindset to go out on top,” Milton coach Tom Lieder said. “And even though McClellan is awfully good in the event and has beaten Jennah three times this year, I would put my money on Jennah on Friday night.
“The key for Jennah is to go out hard the first 50 yards. It’s a race where you can’t fall behind by too much. It’s too hard to get back in it.”
Haney also will swim in the 200 individual medley—where she has the fastest qualifying time of 2:06.93—the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
Milton freshman Katelyn Holmquist has the fastest qualifying time in the 100 backstroke at 57.37. Siri Smits of Berlin/Green Lake is the defending champion in the event, and Lieder believes she will be Holmquist’s toughest competition.
“Smits really brought her time down from the sectional to the state meet last year,” Lieder said. “And she’ll probably do the same this year. A lot of times it’s a matter of just getting through to state.
“But Katelyn has really exceled all season long in that event. And she’s going to be tough to beat.”
Lieder is hoping for a possible state title from his 200 medley relay team. Although the Red Hawks go into the event with only the eighth-fastest time (1:53.52), Haney and Abby Holmquist did not swim on the relay team at the sectional meet. They will join Katelyn Holmquist and junior Lauren Bradley on the team at state.
“With Jennah and Holmquist swimming, that takes at least three or four seconds off our time,” Lieder said. “That makes a big difference, and hopefully, that’s enough to put us right near or at the top.”
The Red Hawks were 11th a year ago, but Lieder believes this year’s team is capable of a top-five finish.
“You have to score in every event that you’re competing in, and I think we can,” Lieder said. “We lost 10 seniors from last year’s team, but this team has really been impressive.”
Elkhorn’s Terrin Seaver is the top seed in the 100 butterfly. Seaver was eighth a year ago and also has the second-fastest time behind Katelyn Holmquist in the 100 backstroke. The Elks’ Rachel Johnson, a sophomore, returns in the 50 freestyle where she was fifth a year ago. Johnson also is returning in the 100 freestyle after finishing ninth last year.
Besides being the favorite in the 100 breaststroke, McClellan also is back in the 200 individual medley, where she finished fourth a year ago.
“I don’t think Emily’s under a lot of pressure in the 100 breaststroke because she’s in a heat with a two-time champion (Haney) and last year’s champ (Criter),” Delavan-Darien coach Rion Epping said. “I think she feels like those two girls are the ones to beat.
“Emily’s got goals in both events as far as times go. If she can hit those goals, she should be in pretty good shape.”