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Muskego girls swimming team wins meet, gives coach a successful return

Warriors capture Fountainwood crown

Muskego’s Payton Zess took fifth in the 200-yard freestyle at the 20th annual Fountainwood Funfest Invitational Swim Meet in the Fountainwood Pool on Aug. 23. The Warriors won the meet, which is the only outdoor high school swim event held in Wisconsin.

Muskego’s Payton Zess took fifth in the 200-yard freestyle at the 20th annual Fountainwood Funfest Invitational Swim Meet in the Fountainwood Pool on Aug. 23. The Warriors won the meet, which is the only outdoor high school swim event held in Wisconsin. Photo By Peter Zuzga

Aug. 25, 2014

Heidi Szczupakiewicz always knew she would return to coaching, but she probably did not expect such a golden opportunity to come her way.

Szczupakiewicz became the head girls swimming coach at Muskego High School earlier this year, taking over for Ed Hallett and Megan Herrick.

This is her first coaching job since 1999, when she directed the Wauwatosa West girls squad. She has remained active in high school swimming, working as a master official, in the years since.

"When this opportunity arose at Muskego, I couldn't turn it down," she said. "I knew I would always get back into coaching someday."

The job was a perfect fit since she lives in Muskego and has seen several of her children compete for the Warriors, including Emma and Joe, who both claimed WIAA state championships, and Ellie, who swam at the state meet as a freshman last season.

Enjoying the job

So far, she is glad she took the job.

"I am really enjoying it," she said. "I'm having a blast. The girls have such camaraderie. They all are relaxed and enjoy swimming. They also enjoy each other's company and are supportive of each other. They are easy to coach."

Muskego assistant coach Mark Larsen is happy to have Szczupakiewicz at the helm.

"I have been with the program for 13 years, and I can tell you that this year is off to a fantastic start," Larsen said. "I really feel like we are truly lucky to have coach Szczupakiewicz lead our team.

"She comes with great experience, but more importantly, she comes with a great deal of heart. We have an awesome group of athletes and a fine group of young women. I feel, under her leadership, they will be in great hands."

The Warriors return seven WIAA state qualifiers from last season in seniors Casey Balson and Kari Balson; junior diver Erin Scholz; and sophomores Ellie Szczupakiewicz, Lauren Stigler, Lilly Larsen and Payton Zess.

Muskego opened the season in grand fashion by winning the Fountainwood Invitational on Aug. 23 in a pool that happens to be owned by the Szczupakiewicz family.

"That meet is close to my heart," Szczupakiewicz said. "It's really great to win our first meet at our pool."

The Warriors tallied 450 points to win the event by nearly 100 points over Wausau East.

Notch four firsts

Taking firsts were Ellie Szczupakiewicz in the 100-yard butterfly with 1 minute, 2.11 seconds, freshman Madeline Willoughby in the 500 freestyle at 5:23.28, Stigler in the 100 breaststroke with 1:07.5 and the 200 medley relay unit of Zess, Stigler, Szczupakiewicz and Casey Balson at 1:56.19.

Finishing second were Willoughby in the 200 freestyle (2:00.28), Stigler in the 200 individual medley (2:13.53), Casey Balson in the 100 freestyle (57.31 seconds) and Szczupakiewicz in the 100 backstroke (1:02.66).

Coming in third were Kari Balson in both the 50 freestyle (25.97) and 100 breaststroke (1:11.38) and the 400 freestyle relay group of Kari Balson, Willoughby, senior Jenna Schneider and Larsen (3:56.44).

Zess took fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:05.56) and fifths were taken by Zess in the 200 freestyle (2:08.47); junior Peyton Umland in the 100 freestyle (1:00.53); Casey Balson in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.4); the 200 medley squad of Umland, junior Erin Rogalla, senior Elyse Terlion and junior Ona Weber (2:08.6); and the 200 freestyle corps of junior Elizabeth Anderson, Weber, Umland and Schneider (1:53.25).

Larsen claimed sixth in the 100 free (1:01), while sevenths went to Terlion in the 100 fly (1:05.06) and Anderson in the 100 backstroke (1:10.53).

Capturing eighth were junior Sydney Grohman in the 200 IM (2:34.44), Larsen in the 50 free (27.69) and Schneider in the 500 free (6:10.32).

Muskego's next meet comes on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Shorewood.

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