First-year coach Justin Sawran said the Oregon boys’ swimming team has a couple of strong breaststrokers and some good sprint freestylers. The Panthers will need to work to fill a gap in 200 and 500 free events, however.
Oregon returns 10 letterwinners from a team that finish last in the Badger South last winter.
Seniors Collin Braatz and Sam Rohloff each return as leaders. Braatz is a sprinter who figures to lead the team in the 50 and 100 free, while Rohloff will help the Panthers out as a sprinter and breaststroker.
Braatz, Rohloff and junior Blake Anderson are all back after qualifying for state last year on the 200 medley relay.
The fourth member of that Panthers medley relay this season could be David Stevenson, who Sawran said has been training with the Oregon Community Swim Club team year round.
“Additionally, Connor Braatz has been training all year and looks to make significant improvements this season,” Sawran said.
Besides the medley relay, Anderson could also help Oregon out in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
Senior Henry Wiedemann is the team’s top returning distance swimmer and fellow senior Justin Yaun will also help out in the sprint relays.
Sophomore Forest Garty (100 backstroke), Seth Rehauer (100 free, 100 back) and George Wiedemann (200 free, 500) will also be counted on more this season.
Juniors Adam Hanke, Nathan Sorensen and Aedan Larson will also be looking to make an impact.
Stevenson is expected to help Oregon out in the 100 breast, 200IM and 100 fly. Marshall Mueller will also add depth in the 100 breast. Fellow freshmen Riley Fahey and Blake Pankratz round out a young team looking to improve.
“I think we have a few potential surprise swimmers this season,” Sawran said. “Getting guys who haven’t been in the water training in several months back into swimming shape is the first step.”
Oregon, which competed as a WIAA Division 2 team last season, has been moved back to the Middleton sectional. The sectional features defending state champion Madison West and runner-up Middleton.
”The Madison area Division 1 sectional is an extremely fast group of teams and individuals, and it’s even more difficult when most of our conference swims at the Division 2 level,” Sawran said.