Last-minute line-up changes can always be difficult.
The Portage girls swim team was limited by some late alterations Tuesday night, suffering a 107-50 loss to Spring Green River Valley/Richland Center in a Badger North Conference dual meet at Rusch Elementary School. The Warriors notched two event wins and added nine other top-three finishes despite the changes caused by illness and minor injuries.
“It’s hard and when people are sick you’re worried that nobody else is going to get sick, so we had to shift some people around tonight,” Portage coach Tammy Tollefson said. “They had some good times and they’re figuring out how to split better. We’re just seeing them pay more and more attention to details and I was really excited coming into this meet to see what would happen. It’s too bad that we had some illnesses.”
Portage got off to a promising start, winning two of the first four events to trail 36-22 at the break. The Warriors got into the win column quickly by taking the first event of the evening in the 200-meter medley relay.
The team of seniors Brooklyn Miller and Leigha Andraschko, junior Rubie Kohn and sophomore Natalie Weidner led wire-to-wire, taking the event in a time of 2 minutes, 18.08 seconds. The group shaved off 2 seconds form their previous top mark of 2:20 and are slowly inching closer to the school record in short course meters of 2:15.02 set in 2013.
“If we can make some changes here and how they approach strokes and that race, they need to be pushing for taking that time off the wall,” Tollefson said.
Adding a win two events later for the Warriors was Miller, who took first in the 50 freestyle for the second consecutive home meet. Switching up from her traditional 200, Miller darted to a winning time of 28.79 seconds, just 0.23 seconds off her new school record time set against Baraboo last week.
While not her normal event, Tollefson lauded Miller for taking on the event and still working hard “even though we’re pulling back a little bit on some things,” due to shoulder soreness.
The fast start didn’t last long for the Warriors, however, as they failed to win another event the rest of the way. That’s not to say Portage didn’t push the Blackhawks with a number of events coming down to the wire.
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One of the top finishes of the night came between Kohn and River Valley/Richland Center’s Erin Glasbrenner in the 100 backstroke. Within lockstep of each other most of the home stretch, it was Glasbrenner who got to the wall first in 1:26.46, narrowly touching out the runner-up Kohn (1:26.70).
Andraschko had a tight finish for second place in the 100 breaststroke as she edged out the Blackhawks’ Nicole Liegel with a runner-up time of 1:34.26. Despite falling short of finishing first, Tollefson knows how beneficial the tight races can be as the start to the second half of the season nears.
“I think it tells the girls that with just a little more effort and a few more changes, and there are places we can make changes, they can take that next step up and that’s important,” she said.
Kohn added a runner-up finish in the 100 butterfly (1:21.29), while Weidner was second in the 200 individual medley (2:59.23) and third in the 100 butterfly behind Kohn. Junior Madi Routson added a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:16.97, senior Camryn Humke was third in the 200 freestyle and the Warriors’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays each finished second.
Just over a month into the season, Tollefson knows that it’s a difficult time for the team during the arduous campaign. Even with the yards and fatigue starting to mount, there’s no time to slow down.
“It’s a time when they’re tired and a lot of it becomes a mental game,” Tollefson said. “We’re going to keep up with the yards, yards still build, but they have to maintain the technique and it’s tiring. It’s a long season, so we have to make sure the mental game is there and everyone is supporting everybody.”
Portage returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Sauk Prairie in another Badger North clash.
RIVER VALLEY/RICHLAND CENTER 107, PORTAGE 50
Winners and Portage results: 200-meter medley relay — 1, Portage (Miller, Andraschko, Kohn, Weidner), 2:18.08. 200 freestyle — 1, Glasbrenner, RVRC, 2:41.85; 3, Humke, P, 3:21.01. 200 individual medley — 1, Harper, RVRC, 2:47.11; 2, Weidner, P, 2:59.23. 50 freestyle — 1, Miller, P, :28.79; 5, Andraschko, :34.60; 6, Routson, P, :35.09. 100 butterfly — 1, Harper, RVRC, 1:15.64; 2, Kohn, P, 1:21.29; 3, Weidner, P, 1:30.91. 100 freestyle — 1, Giroux, RVRC, 1:07.89; 3, Routson, P, 1:16.97. 200 freestyle relay — 1, River Valley/Richland Center, 2:22.83; 2, Portage (Humke, Edwards, Andraschko, Routson), 2:25.77. 100 backstroke — 1, Glasbrenner, RVRC, 1:26.46; 2, Kohn, P, 1:26.70; 4, Humke, P, 1:40.38. 100 breaststroke — 1, Peckham, RVRC, 1:30.42; 2, Andraschko, P, 1:34.26. 400 freestyle relay — 1, River Valley/Richland Center, 4:42.25; 2, Portage (Routson, Kohn, Weidner, Miller), 4:51.36.