By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay swimming and diving teams finished up another successful campaign in 2012-13, as the men’s and women’s squads combined to win five individual conference titles, break five school records, take home multiple awards and turn in countless standout performances.
By design, much of the teams’ success came at the 2013 Horizon League Championships, held Feb. 27-March 1 at the UIC Flames Natatorium in Chicago. The women's squad finished the four-day meet in third after a tight race for the team title, while the men's squad moved up a spot to fourth place after finishing fifth in each of the last five seasons.
NEWCOMER POELMANS SHINES AT HORIZON LEAGUE MEET
Perhaps the most impressive highlight of Green Bay’s season was the performance of freshman Willem Poelmans (Hasselt, Belgium) at the Horizon League Championship meet. Poelmans, who did not join the Phoenix until mid-year, was selected as the Horizon League Men’s Newcomer of the Year after picking up a pair of individual conference titles in record-breaking fashion. The newcomer first won the 200-yard IM on Thursday with a Horizon League and school-record time of 1:49.06, and then claimed the 400 IM in 3:52.85 on Friday while shattering another school record. Both swims were also good enough for NCAA B-cuts.
Poelmans’ time of 1:49.06 in the 200 IM edged the Horizon League record of 1:49.09 set by Cleveland State's Jakub Dobies in 2010, and also shattered the 14-year-old Green Bay record of 1:52.67 set by Jens Sonntag in 1999. His 3:52.85 in the 400 IM smashed the 2003 school record of 4:02.80 previously held by Dan Brzozowski and was less than a second away from the Horizon League record of 3:52.07.
ROTTIER NABS TWO MORE INDIVIDUAL TITLES IN CHICAGO
Coming off a sophomore season in which she won three Horizon League titles and broke five school records, expectations in 2012-13 were high for Kendra Rottier (Green Bay, Wis.). Fortunately for the Phoenix women, the junior was able to pick up where she left off by winning two more individual crowns and earning a runner-up finish at this year’s Horizon League meet. Rottier successfully defended her titles in the 1000 freestyle (10:07.32) and 1650 freestyle (16:50.94) races, and also placed second in the 500 freestyle (4:55.80). She posted season-best times in all three events.
KORSLIN, RELAYS HAVE RECORD-BREAKING CHAMPIONSHIP MEET
Sophomore Ryan Korslin (Rudolph, Wis.) was involved in a pair of record-breaking performances of his own at the Horizon League Championships, cruising to a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke after helping the Phoenix to a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Korslin’s 100 breast time of 54.81, which achieved an NCAA B-cut, broke the Green Bay school record of 55.11 set by Jason Askew in 2011, and the 200 medley relay time of 1:30.04 broke the previous school record of 1:31.71 (2012). Joining Korslin on the relay squad were three more underclassmen – Matt Hollub (Appleton, Wis.), Cole Hackney (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Ben Loeffelholz (Dubuque, Iowa).
Another relay squad -- the 400 medley -- also earned a school-record time at the Horizon League meet, as the quartet of Evan Hill (Jefferson, Wis.), Jonathan Lesniak (McHenry, Ill.), Robert Miner (Madison, Wis.) and Tyler Evans (Lodi, Wis.) finished fourth in3:19.75. It broke the 2010 mark of 3:20.56.
SPAETH ENDS STANDOUT DIVING CAREER WITH STRONG PERFORMANCES
Senior diver Mitchell Spaeth (Fredonia, Wis.) ended his stellar career on a high note at the NCAA Zone ‘D’ Diving Regionals in Houston, Texas in mid-March, qualifying for finals on the 3-meter board. Spaeth posted a huge score of 309 in prelims to earn one of the 18 qualifying spots before finishing 17th overall. Spaeth's total score of 605.45 on the high board was just shy of the best Zones score in school history in the event, as Daniel Pogue recorded a 606.15 in 2012. His score and placement were also the highest of any Division I men's diver from a Wisconsin school at Zones this season.
Spaeth also earned a pair of strong finishes at the Horizon League Championship meet, taking fourth in the 3-meter (322.40) and fifth in the 1-meter (276.45). In addition, Spaeth was named Horizon League Diver of the Week on Feb. 5 after winning both boards on Senior Day against Milwaukee.
PHOENIX SWIMMERS SWEEP WEEKLY AWARDS FOR FIRST TIME
Oct. 30, 2012 marked a first for the Green Bay swimming and diving program, as the Phoenix swept the men’s and women’s Horizon League Swimmer of the Week awards for the first time in school history. Rottier and junior classmate Robert Miner (Madison, Wis.) both received the weekly award after winning three events apiece in victories over Wright State.
Rottier won all three of her individual events in the women's team's 177-110 domination of the Raiders at the Peter F. Dorschel Natatorium on Oct. 27. The junior won the 1000 freestyle in 10:24.65 before winning the 200 butterfly in 2:11.07 and the 500 free in 5:09.87. Miner's wins were crucial in helping the Green Bay men pick up their first dual victory of the season. He swam on the winning 200-yard medley relay in the meet's opening race, and then went on to claim the 100 (52.22) and 200 (1:56.40) butterfly events.
GREEN BAY DOMINATES INVITATIONALS IN 2012-13
The Phoenix found success in regular season invitationals in 2012-13, as the men went 2-0 and the women won their lone invite. Both Green Bay squads competed at the House of Champions Invitational Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Indianapolis, with the men’s squad placing first out of five teams and the women’s team topping the seven-team field. The men made the trip back to Indy for the Butler Invitational on Jan. 27, earning another first-place finish out of four teams.
2012-13 IMPACTS THE RECORD BOOKS
Outside of the three individual school records set in 2012-13, there were also 56 other additions to Green Bay’s list of top-10 all-time performers in each individual event. To view the complete list of top-10 performers, click here.
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