UWM Women Open 2009-10 Season On Road Against Wisconsin
Oct. 7, 2009
Oct. 9 at Wisconsin Badgers
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's swimming & diving team begins the 2009-10 season with a non-conference dual against Big Ten competition this weekend. The Panthers and Wisconsin Badgers will hit the pool Friday, starting at 5 p.m. in Madison.
Friday marks the season opener for the UW as well.
2009-10 UWM Women's Season Preview
"Getting second place last season was a great experience," Milwaukee head coach Erica Janssen said. "We swam very well and wanted to win, but we were happy with second and how everyone did. We couldn't have asked for more based on our weak areas heading into the meet."
The team may have graduated just a handful of seniors, but replacing Molly Finn - who holds seven current school records and one league record and won six individual league titles in her career - and Ashley Hall - the co-league diver of the meet, will not be an easy task.
"It's hard because you could always count on Molly to win," Janssen said. "Our job is to set ourselves up so when a swimmer like Molly graduates, we have someone else that can step into that role and we don't miss a beat. We already have people in place that may not be quite as good as Molly, but can do a good job stepping into that role."
The team enjoyed a lot of success last season, including the noted winning streak that spanned October through February without a dual loss.
"I don't put that much emphasis on dual meets but it always feels good to win," Janssen said. "It's not that I care about winning, but I do care about losing. It really helps the girls' confidence level when we start winning events at meets like Wisconsin. Our schedule is really tough this season ... I don't know if we are going to win any meets in October. But, it's tough and they have to get used to swimming against faster opponents and building that confidence level so that when they step up in at conference they are ready."
"Sarah is one of the most talented swimmers I have ever seen in my life," Janssen said. "She is just a kid that wants to do well and I knew we would be extremely lucky if she decided to come to Milwaukee. Sarah wins ... Sarah competes. She wants to be the best by yards and yards."
Junior Ellie Gross and sophomore Heidi Niespodzany also had solid seasons, with each scoring in the sprints at the league meet. "Ellie, Heidi and then Kelsey Ogle will be swimming a little bit for us this year," Janssen said. "It will be kind of an unknown with some freshmen in there but I feel really comfortable about it. Randee Cardinal and Parker Watson will be right there contributing this season as well."
"It's nice because if you put her in a race, she wins it," Janssen said. "Danielle has such a strong mindset and she just wants to win. She does everything in her power everyday to set herself up for that success."
"Danielle leads that group but having youngsters like Taylor Andrews and Ashley Yansza, in addition to Alex Nelson and Jenny Westfall, will help immensely," Janssen said. "Kelsey Ogle is back after surgery and will step right back in and is training well so far. Karmyn VandeWettering and Ashley Yanzsa will also swim some mid-distance and Rachel Rebitski will give us added depth as well. Alex and Jenny had great seasons last year and we expect them to be able to step up even more."
"We will look to Maggi Beck, who is already swimming very well," Janssen said. "We look for her to step into Molly's role and she is ready and determined. We don't have a lot of pure flyers, but some will crossover like Heidi Niespodzany. If we have a weak link, it will still be in the fly."
"Danielle Chapman developed out of nowhere for us in the backstroke and ended up breaking records," Janssen said. "She and Wenger will play a large role and then we recruited a large group of freshmen, as that was a hole for us last year. Shea Berg, Jenna Wisdorf and Andrea Chvatal can all step up and fill those spots for us."
Not only does UWM have Wardecke, but senior Kerry Rossow looks to close out her career on a high note after earning all-league honors in breaststroke on four occasions, including a league crown in the 100 breast as a sophomore. Senior Bailey Nennig also contributed heavily, setting career-best times in each.
"We will put Sarah in if we need to, but we trust Kerry and Bailey to take care of business for us in the breaststroke." Janssen said. "I think, as a whole, this group is one of our strongest assets. We brought in some girls, Shannon Slattery and Emily Blohm, to slide into those roles over the next few seasons."
"Bailey had an amazing year and we will look to her again," Janssen said. "We do have a lot of options there as well with Ali and Jennifer. Was have also added Taylor Andrews to the mix to give us more depth."
"It will be anybody's game to step up and take over," Janssen said. "The competition will be great but it's almost a no-lose situation. There are a lot of people that have the potential to be successful in these roles."
"Hopefully Kelsey can step up and give us more of the same or even better," Janssen said. "The goal will be to put six girls in the top eight in diving at the league meet. And, it's never been done before, but that is the goal."
"The team last year learned that anything can happen," Janssen said. "They learned that we are that good as a team and that we can win. They just needed to fix a few areas and this year they are excited and know we can do it."