Greenfield/Greendale boys swim relay narrowly misses state history

Co-op team fifth at WIAA state meet

Greenfield/Greendale's Shawn Lucchesi swims the 100-yard butterfly heat at the WIAA Division 1 State Meet in Madison on Saturday. Lucchesi was part of a 200 medley relay team that nearly set a state record.

Greenfield/Greendale's Shawn Lucchesi swims the 100-yard butterfly heat at the WIAA Division 1 State Meet in Madison on Saturday. Lucchesi was part of a 200 medley relay team that nearly set a state record. Photo By Russ Pulvermacher

Feb. 25, 2014

With six top-five places and fifth place in the standings, the Greenfield/Greendale boys swimming team certainly left its mark on this season's WIAA Division 1 State Meet.

The Panther-Hawks also nearly left an indelible impression on the state record books.

The 200-yard medley relay unit of junior Rick Perez, senior Ross Rybakowicz, senior Shawn Lucchesi and senior Adam Fleischhacker came within 0.36 seconds of posting the fastest time in state history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Natatorium on Saturday.

The group finished in 1 minute, 33.97 seconds, just shy of the state record of 1:33.61 set in 2005 by Madison Memorial.

Coincidentally, this year's Memorial squad actually won the 200 medley relay with 1:33.92, putting Greenfield/Greendale in a solid second place.

The Panther-Hawks still set an automatic All-American time standard, recorded the fourth-best time in state history and broke the school record by almost two seconds.

Swimmers bounced back

That heartbreaking loss occurred early in the state meet, but the four swimmers rallied and went on to earn enough high places to give their team 134 points for the meet.

"Not only were they able to shake off the loss (in the medley), but they put together enough trips to the podium to have the team finish fifth overall," head coach Dale Schrank said. "There are over 75 teams in Division 1, 52 of which qualified swimmers for the meet, and only 42 teams scored. To finish fifth with only 11 swimmers says quite a bit about this team."

Rybakowicz earned second in the 100 breaststroke with 57.09 seconds and third in the 200 individual medley at 1:51.56. Both those marks were school records.

Perez came in third in the 100 backstroke with 51.35 seconds and fourth in the 100 butterfly at 51.3.

Perez swam the backstroke minutes after the 200 freestyle relay, in which he teamed with Rybakowicz, Lucchesi and Fleischhacker to take fifth in 1:27.59.

"He had a very short rest interval after the relay," Schrank said, "but really never objected to putting the interest of the team ahead of his own personal goals."

Lucchesi also had a quick turnaround, taking part in the 200 freestyle minutes after the 200 medley relay and coming in 12th at 1:46.32.

"At the sectional meet, Shawn was able to avoid the medley relay and had fresh legs for the 200," Schrank explained. "He qualified for Madison with a lifetime best of 1:45.16. Even after the relay at Madison, with 10 minutes rest, he came within a second of his best effort."

Lucchesi also captured 14th in the 100 butterfly (53.46), while Fleischhacker snared 24th in the 50 freestyle (22.93).

Relay swimmers set bests

The 400 freestyle team of sophomore Ricky Davis, senior Joe Hannah, junior Andrew Semancek and senior Bryant Lee also took 24th (3:38.15).

"All four were swimming in the state meet for the very first time," Schrank said. "All four had lifetime-best times. That experience could pay big dividends next season."

With Lucchesi, Rybakowicz, Fleischhacker, Hannah and Lee all being seniors, the Panther-Hawks might have some rebuilding to do next season, but Schrank has other thoughts.

"To really put Greenfield/Greendale swimming back on the map," he said, "we would like to get to a point where we are reloading, not rebuilding. With the help of the Southwest Aquatic Team and the Swim America program, I am hopeful that within the next four years, we can do exactly that."

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