With a strong senior class, the Grafton girls swimming and diving team is looking forward to a fine autumn season.
Autumn Haebig is back for her final year with the Black Hawks and will seek her seventh and eighth individual state championships this fall.
Haebig opened the season by winning the 200-yard freestyle with 1 minute, 54.08 seconds and the 500 freestyle in 5:03.67 in the Wild FalconCat Invitational at Brown Deer on Aug. 20.
"She posted times that will be tough for everyone to catch in Division 2," coach Tom Miazga said. "She's put herself in a position to do great things this year, and she certainly holds herself to great expectations."
Fox, O'Brien return
Also returning are seniors Mallory Fox and Emma O'Brien, both who also played prominent roles in last season's WIAA Division 2 state meet.
Fox took second place in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles at state, and O'Brien tied for seventh in the 50 freestyle and came in 11th in the 100 breaststroke.
At Brown Deer, O'Brien came in second in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.62) and third in the 200 individual medley (2:24.55).
"She has always been a strong swimmer, but as a leader this year, she is about to take her swimming to a new level, and I am just excited to be a part of it," Miazga said.
All three swam on Grafton's state 200 medley relay team, which won and set a state record, and the 400 freestyle relay, which also took first.
Coach Tom Miazga also expects sophomore Olivia Konzen to contribute heavily this season after she led off the 200 freestyle relay at state last season. Konzen finished eighth in the 100 freestyle (1:04.43) at Brown Deer.
"She had come into her freshman year with little swimming experience and was able to find herself at state," the coach said. "We are excited to see her take her experiences and use them to put together a special year."
At Brown Deer, Haebig, O'Brien, junior Gabby Sparapini and Konzen came in second in the 200 medley (1:58.42) and third in the 400 freestyle (4:00.5).
Sparapini finished seventh in the 100 butterfly (1:16.6) to close out the top-eight places for the Hawks, who scored 255 points for fifth place.
"We had a successful meet," Miazga said. "This was the first meet ever for a heavy portion of our team, and the girls all handled it incredibly well. They swam significantly faster than they thought they could and have significantly changed their outlook on their abilities."
Miazga said the girls are understanding the strong swimming tradition at Grafton.
"We have tremendous leaders who will show our newer swimmers the dedication and commitment it takes to be serious in this sport," he said. "With a team of 20 swimmers and two divers, everyone plays an important role. I think with the tremendous team chemistry we have, most girls will buy in and continue to carry the Grafton name as one of success."
The Hawks next compete at Homestead at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, in a North Shore dual meet.