The Elks swim team celebrates its third place at the state meet Saturday at the UW-Madison Natatorium: Danny Bush, Brevin Kruse, Alex Johnson, Lucas Koepke, Hunter Johnson, Willy Pinnow, Spencer Ingersoll. Mark Ambrose and Derek Gauger. (Submitted photo)

Elkhorn swim team caps stellar season with 3rd place at state

By Chris Bennett


The Elkhorn Area High School boys swim team turned in the best night in program history Feb. 15 at the WIAA Division 2 State Boys Swimming & Diving Championships at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison.

The Elks finished third in Division 2.

“That’s the highest we’ve ever finished,” coach Jamie Richardson said. “We moved-up two spots from last year’s fifth-place finish and we had a lot of kids on the podium. It was a good night.”

The Elks competed in nine events at the state meet and finished no lower than 11th in any single event. Medals are awarded through sixth place in all events at state, and the Elks returned home with medals from eight events.

Elkhorn’s highest finish came in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Lucas Koepke, Danny Bush, Willy Pinnow and Hunter Johnson finished second in 3:14.75.

Madison Edgewood won the event in 3:12.30. The Elks entered the meet with the highest seed time in the event (3:16.46), beat their seed time by almost two seconds, and set a team record.

“Everyone swam their best leg of the season,” Richardson said. “You can’t ask for much more from them. They squeezed-out more from their sectional time. It was good race. It will be exciting to see what they can do next year.”

Koepke, Bush, Pinnow and Johnson are juniors.

Koepke, Derek Gauger, Bush and Pinnow finished third in the 200 freestyle relay (1:29.98).

Hunter Johnson finished third in the 100 butterfly (52.61).

Koepke finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (48.76) and set a team record.

Pinnow finished fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:45.57) and 500 freestyle (4:45.85) and set team records in each event.

Koepke finished fifth in the 50 freestyle (21.98). In both the 50 and 100 freestyles Richardson said Koepke swam in an outside lane and snuck-in to make the podium in each event.

Hunter Johnson finished ninth in the 200 freestyle (1:47.20) and Kruse finished ninth in the 100 backstroke (55.88). Kruse turned in his best times of the season in the 100 backstroke and in his leg of the 200 medley relay.

Kruse, Alex Johnson, Hunter Johnson and Derek Gauger finished 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:42.50).

“It was a fun night to see these kids,” Richardson said. “I couldn’t ask for much more from them. They swam their hearts out.

“It was a fun night all around, because we had so many people swimming. Their was a lot of cheering.”

The Elks finished with 169 points in the team standings. Rhinelander tied Elkhorn for third.

Edgewood won the Division 2 state team title with 289 points. Monona Grove finished second (184).

The Elks bid farewell to seniors Alex Johnson, Gauger and Kruse at this meet.

“It’s bittersweet to see your seniors leave,” Richardson said. “Those three have been with the program for four years.”


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