When many teenagers are still in bed during the summer, Verona Area High School senior Kaitlyn Zuehl and her younger sister, sophomore Kenzie, take turns waking each other up to get to the pool by 6:30 a.m. for swim practice.
The Zuehls are members of the Seminole Pool Sharks. For 11 years, Kaitlyn has used the sibling rivalry with Kenzie to continue pushing her to faster times.
“She’s definitely a motivation,” Kenzie said of her older sister. “We both get each other up in the mornings, and we push each other in practice.”
“We push each other all the time,” Kaitlyn added. “It’s kind of fun having a sister and best friend on the team that you swim with everyday.”
Both Kaitlyn and Kenzie use the Fitchburg club team as a way to prepare for the Verona Area/Mount Horeb swim season in the fall.
Kenzie Zuehl was on the 200-meter medley relay team that captured the WIAA Division 1 state title. She and her older sister were also on the Wildcats’ 200 freestyle relay team that finished second at state, and she was a state qualifier in the 50 free as a freshman last year.
“I’m trying to go as fast as I can now so when I get back to high school (season) I can just exceed that,” Kenzie said.
Saturday, July 13, the sisters combined on six top-three finishes. Ridegwood won the dual meet over Seminole 638-431.
Avery Updegrove, a 2019 VAHS grad, also swims for the Seminole team.
Josie McCartney, Sara Stewart and Molly McCormick compete for Ridgewood in the summer and Verona Area/Mount Horeb in the fall.
“It’s all like an intrasquad meet going against each other during the summer,” Kaitlyn Zuehl said. “I love knowing people from other teams and from high school and the rec league.”
The younger Zuehl has been swimming the 100 free, 200 individual medley and 100 fly throughout the summer. She already knows what events she wants to focus on in the fall.
“Going into the season, I definitely would like to stick with the 50 and 100 free,” she said.
Kaitlyn Zuehl’s favorite event is the 100 butterfly. Her best time in the butterfly is 1 minute, and it’s 24.7 seconds in the 50 free.