By Jennifer Eisenbart
It was a sister act at the WIAA Division 1 state meet Saturday for the Burlington co-op swim team.
The co-op squad has swimmers from Burlington, Catholic Central, East Troy, Waterford and Union Grove High Schools, but it was three sisters from Burlington that represented the team at state.
BHS senior Serena Wanasek, her junior sister Sara and freshman Olivia all participated at the University of Wisconsin-Natatorium Saturday, with Serena Wanasek finishing her high-school career with a pair of medals.
“We’re very happy,” said coach Denita Jones. “The girls did a good job at state.
Wanasek, who is courting a number of offers to swim in college, opened her day by finishing sixth in the 200 freestyle in 1:53.52, and then added a fifth-place finish in the 500 free in 5:04.23.
“I think she was looking to drop a little bit of time again, and instead, she went the other direction,” said Jones of the race in the 200. “But I think she wanted to make sure she was on the podium, and she was on the podium in both her events.”
Serena did swim a high-school best time in the 500.
While she was medaling, sister Sara was posting a 12th-place finish in the 200 free (1:56.13) and a 13th-place finish in the 500 (5:12.52). Both times were her best of the season.
“She dropped in both her events from sectionals,” Jones said. “Tapers can be funny little creatures.
“To be able to drop times in both of her events in another week, that’s always a good thing.”
As for Olivia, the freshman managed a solid race in the 100 backstroke after tapering for sectionals. She swam the second-best time of the season – 1:00.79, just off her sectional time of 59.98 – and finished 21st.
“I thought she did quite well,” Jones said. “Just being at the big meets and dealing with the noise, the crowds, the excitement…to wait until almost the very last event of the whole meet, that’s not an easy thing.
“That’s the second-best time of her life,” Jones added. “She can’t be too disappointed in it.”
For first-year coach Jones, the three sisters provided a wonderful environment as she took over for long-time coach Ken France.
“It was a real pleasure to coach all three girls,” the coach said. “Everything they contributed they contributed to the team this year.”