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Arrowhead aims to reclaim gold

South/Mukwonago to provide plenty of competition once again

Nov. 7, 2012

It's showdown time for the girls swim teams from defending state champion Waukesha South/Mukwonago and Arrowhead. Barring any miracles, one of those two Classic 8 Conference powerhouses is going to leave Madison on Saturday night with the 2012 state championship.

On paper, the meet looks very close going into Saturday's WIAA Division 1 state meet at the UW Natatorium in Madison. South/Mukwonago holds the edge, based on some powerful swimmers at the top of the lineup. But Arrowhead has better depth. So, will the standout swimmers win out on Saturday or will the AHS balance be enough to put them over the top?

"In scoring the meet, South/Mukwonago has the edge on us," said sixth-year Arrowhead coach Jen Pollnow. "But after looking over the sectional results, I think we have a lot more room for improvement than they do. If we swim our best, we can pick up a lot points on them. We'll put in a good week of practice and then go to Madison and give it our best shot. We're excited about going to state."

After the Warhawks had captured eight state titles in the previous nine years, South/Mukwonago ended Arrowhead's three-year reign as state champion last year by a mere two points. The Blackshirts won the crown with 293 points, and the Warhawks had 291. The championship came down to the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. South/Mukwonago won that race, and Arrowhead finished third.

Since 2002, the Warhawks have been the most dominant school in state girls swimming history, winning eight titles. Only South/Mukwonago (last year) and Madison East (2007) have won championships in that span.

Since the WIAA started sponsoring girls swimming in 1970, Madison West has won the most titles with 15. Others at the top of that list are Madison Memorial with 14 and Arrowhead 9. The Warhawks have also finished second four times.

Warren leads Hawks

Arrowhead junior Mary Warren will come into Saturday's meet as the defending champion in the 50 freestyle. She won that race last year with a time of 23.37. This year she's seeded second in that same race.

Several other girls on this year's team swam on winning relays one year ago. Lindsay Adamski, Miranda Helbig and Warren were members of the winning 200 medley relay team and Maddie Barta, Katie Duranso and Warren swam on the winning 200 freestyle relay.

Warren, Helbig and Duranso also swam on state championship relay teams in 2010.

South/Mukwonago has three No. 1 seeds, and the Warhawks have just one.

The top 16 places score points at the state meet, and that's where Arrowhead might be able to pile up a lot of valuable points.

AHS has 11 seeds in the top eight and a total of 16 in the top 16 spots. At the same time, South/Mukwonago has eight in the top eight and a total of 11 in the top 16.

"South/Mukwonago is really strong in the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle, and that's two big events for them," Pollnow said. "We're pretty solid in the 50 and 100 freestyle races. I think the divers could help us a lot if they can score and the 200 freestyle relay, the backstroke and the butterfly are key events for us. They are kind of top-loaded and we have the depth. I know what our girls can do, and I think we have big chance for improvement in a lot of the events."

Since the state meet began in 1970, Madison Memorial and Madison West have won the most individual events at the state meet as both schools have captured 81 titles. Arrowhead is fast closing third with 68, including five from last year.

The WIAA Division 2 competition will be held Friday and the WIAA Division 1 action will take place on Saturday. Diving will begin at 10 a.m. and the swimming will start at 3 p.m.

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