State Swim Meet: Reece, 400 free relay team break school records

Craig swimmers have a big night at the state meet Dakota Reece broke the school record in the 100 freestyle; Ally Donagan dropped time and improved her seeding in the 200 and 500 freestyle events; Kadence Woods and Sydney Guenther rounded out the record-breaking 4×100 free relay team. Guenther will swim for UW-La Crosse next year.

Tuesday, April 6, was a record-breaking day for the Cougar girls swim team.

Four swimmers competed at the Alternate State girls swim meet held at Waukesha South High School. Representing Craig were senior Sydney Guenther, junior Kadence Woods, and sophomores Ally Donagan and Dakota Reece 

Craig’s qualifiers excelled. “It was pretty much a perfect night,” said coach Jen Punzel. 

Indeed it was. Dakota Reece broke the school record in the 100 free. The 4×100 relay team also broke the school record.

Ally Donagan set the tone for the night.

In the 200 freestyle, Ally Donagan finished in 9th. She went into the meet seeded 14th.

Her time of 1:57.62 was a personal best, nearly 3 seconds under her seed time.  Dakota Reece followed Ally’s lead, posting a personal-best time of 54.30 in the 100 freestyle, finishing 15th overall and beating her 16th place seed.

Ally hit the water again in the 500 freestyle, where she was again seeded 14th.  She posted a season-best 5:17.53 to earn 12th place overall.

“She swam a beautiful race,” said Punzel. “She dropped 6.19 seconds from her sectional seed time.” 

But the Cougars saved their best for last. The 4×100 free relay of Dakota Reece, Sydney Guenther,  Kadence Woods, and Ally Donagan broke the school record.

“It was the highlight of the night,” said Punzel.  

Every swimmer swam a lifetime-best 100 free time, and the team beat the previous school record by nearly 5 seconds.

Punzel was proud. “They crushed the record,” she said.

“The girls knew they were within a second of the school record and this race was a focus of our practice leading up to the state meet.”  

Their time of 3:36.71 earned a 5th place podium finish. 

“It blew away their seed of 11th place.”  

Additionally, leadoff swimmer Dakota Reece surpassed her previous best time by swimming a 53.78 100 free to earn an individual school record.  

Punzel said, “This is an opportunity only the lead-off swimmer has in a relay, due to an official start, and she seized the opportunity!”

Even though the swimmers had a shortened season, they dropped significant time to swim personal bests.

Punzel explained, “Their first meet of the season was less than 7 weeks ago.  At that meet, this same relay posted a time of 3:53.53.” 

This means that in less than 7 weeks, the relay swimmers dropped 16.82 seconds, over 13% off their original time. 

Punzel couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. 

“This was an amazing accomplishment,  performed by an amazing group of athletes,” she said, adding, “Congratulations ladies!  You make your school proud!”

Thank you to Coach Punzel for providing the quotes and information for this article.

Photo Gallery coming soon!