The Verona Area/Mount Horeb girls swimming team competed against some of the state’s best teams in consecutive days.

Madison West beat the Wildcats 95-75 in a Big Eight Conference dual at the Verona Natatorium on Friday, Sept. 13. Verona finished sixth out of 11 teams at Brookfield East’s Spartan Invitational a day later.

Spartan Invitational

Verona Area/Mount Horeb racked up 247.5 points to finish in the middle of a packed field in Brookfield. Twenty-six of the Wildcats’ individual swims beat their seed time, the second-most of any team.

Peyton Drexler finished third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:58.76, and also took third in the 500-yard freestyle (5:12.94) for VA/MH. The Wildcats’ 200 free relay of Kenzie Zuehl, Maia Blas, Sam Malecki and Kaitlyn Zuehl placed fourth with a time of 1:41.16.

Sara Stewart took sixth in the 100 butterfly (59.79), while Kenzie Zuehl was sixth in the 100 free (55.22) and seventh in the 50 free (25.03). The Wildcats’ 200 medley relay team of Stewart, Malecki, Kenzie Zuehl and Josie McCartney finished seventh with a time of 1:51.62. Stewart also took seventh in the 100 backstroke (59.83), and Malecki was seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.51).

Stewart, McCartney, Kenzie Zuehl and Tola Klabough finished seventh in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:43.45. Klabough also took ninth in the 200 free (2:02.22) and 11th in the 100 free (55.98). Drexler, Klabough, Allison Beggs and Emma Neumann finished 11th in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:45.43.

McCartney took 10th in the 100 butterfly (1:00.99). Bailey Felsheim was 11th in the 100 butterfly (1:01.48) and 14th in the 100 backstroke (1:02.67). Beggs, Blas, Felsheim and Regan Brazeau placed 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:56.21).

Malecki was 13th in the 200 IM (2:17.52), while Blas took 13th in the 50 free (25.68) and 15th in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.37). Kaitlyn Zuehl finished 15th in the 100 butterfly (1:02.83) and 16th in the 50 free (25.87).

Big Eight Conference teams took the top three spots. Sun Prairie won the team title with 413.5 points, followed by Madison West (349) and Middleton (347).

Madison West 95, VA/MH 75

Stewart and Drexler won two events apiece in the Wildcats’ Big Eight home loss to the Regents.

Stewart missed the previous week’s home dual against Janesville Craig due to an unofficial visit to Illinois State, where she has verbally committed to continue her swimming career. She won the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:06.36, and came back to win the 100 backstroke in 1:06.10.

“The last week was really hard mentally and physically, so I didn’t think I’d swim some of my top times of the season,” Stewart said. “I was really happy with how I swam.”

Drexler cruised to a top time of 2:09.44 in the 200 freestyle, and pulled away from the competition to win the 400 free in 4:33.71.

Blas, Malecki, Kaitlyn Zuehl and Kenzie Zuehl won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:52.68 for VA/MH.

“This was a great atmosphere for a high school swim meet,” Wildcats coach Bill Wuerger said. “There was a ton of energy and support from the crowd, and I think that pushed girls to swim well.”

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