Oshkosh North/Lourdes swim coach Heidi Wara stresses to her squad that it isn’t always about finishing first.
What often provides the winning margins in swim meets are racking up the bulk of the second, third and fourth-place finishes to bolster whatever victories a team gets.
On Tuesday night against rival Oshkosh West, North/Lourdes did a good amount of both.
North/Lourdes finished first in 10 of the 12 events and grabbed the top two places in six of the events — including a sweep of the top three places in the 200-yard individual medley — and outpaced the young Oshkosh West squad, 118-67, in a Fox Valley Association dual meet at the Oshkosh West pool.
“I always tell them it’s not necessarily about the first-place finish, but about second, third, fourth and fifth. They pulled through together as a team and came out on top tonight,” Wara said. “I’m very excited about the win. They swam really hard, they swam really well. I’m proud of everyone of them.”
North/Lourdes was paced by multiple wins from Katharine Tippins, Ashley Wilson and Arielle Eiler, but the high point of the meet was in the individual medley — an event where a top three sweep rarely happens.
It was Wilson that captured the win, while Madison Levesque and Madi Latta grabbed the next two spots for North/Lourdes.
“All of the points help,” said Levesque. “We really enforced that even if they might not get the win, second, third and fourth are really important too.”
Although North/Lourdes already had the lead at that point but the barrage of points gave the squad some breathing room.
“That was a big momentum boost for us,” Wara said. “That was a nice way to start the first half of the meet. I think it helps the attitude of the girls and it carried through the whole meet.”
Wilson also picked up a win in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Eiler picked up the win in the 100-yard freestyle and then posted a 1-2 finished with Morgan Hammen in the 50-yard freestyle.
Katharine Tippins’ wins came in the 200-yard freestyle and in the 500-yard freestyle — an event where she finished more than 50 yards ahead of the field.
“I felt pretty solid. I knew I really wanted to have a good meet and help my team beat West,” Tippins said. “We’ve been training hard all season and this meet shows how much its paid off.
“I think instills a lot of confidence in the team because we already have a better record than last year. Hopefully, this will put us on a roll for some more wins.”
Levesque added North/Lourdes’ remaining individual win, placing first in the 100-yard butterfly, while teammate Sami Spanbauer was second. Spanbauer added another second place in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Lindsay Tippins in the 500-yard freestyle and Hammen in the 100-yard backstroke also had runner-up finishes.
Lauren Neveau was also second in diving.
North/Lourdes also won all three relay events, including a 1-2 finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“It’s pretty nice because West is our rival and we’re pretty small (as a team),” Levesque said. “Last year we didn’t win so we really wanted to push. Everyone gave it their all.”
Oshkosh West wasn’t shut out individual wins as the Wildcats got victories from Alyssa Haertl in the 100-yard backstroke and from returning state qualifier Becky Procknow in diving.
Haertl also added a second place in the 200-yard freestyle, while Taylor Ferrere was second in the 100-yard freestyle.
“We are a very young team. We are in a rebuilding phase but you know what, they are swimming their hearts out and I couldn’t be any more pleased,” West coach Carrie Bores said. “We told them the best thing we have to do is continue to work.
“Alyssa, she had a nice swim. That wasn’t her best time, yet, but it was a good swim for her right now. … Becky’s coming alomng. She’s starting to get a little more finesse and fine tune her dives. So we’re expecting some nice things out of her for the end of the year.”
Team score: Oshkosh North/Lourdes 118, Oshkosh West 67
200 medley relay: 1. North/Lourdes (K. Tippins, Wilson, Levesque, Eiler), 1:57.84; 2. West, 2:05.16; 3. North/Lourdes, 2:08.83. 200 freestyle: 1. Katharine Tippins (ONL), 2:01.43; 2. Alyssa Haertl (OW), 2:10.14; 3. Lindsay Tippins (ONL), 2:12.51. 200 individual medley: 1. Ashley Wilson (ONL), 2:18.12; 2. Madison Levesque, 2:26.20; 3. Madi Latta (ONL), 2:38.89. 50 freestyle: 1. Arielle Eiler (ONL), 26.65; 2. Morgan Hammen (ONL), 27.21; 3. Maria Landgraf (OW), 27.51. Diving: 1. Becky Procknow (OW), 204.45; 2. Lauren Neveau (ONL), 157.90. 100 butterfly: 1. Levesque (ONL), 1:05.28; 2. Sami Spanbauer (ONL), 1:10.26; 3. Emma Key (OW), 1:10.29. 100 freestyle: 1. Eiler (ONL), 58.52; 2. Taylor Ferrere (OW), 1:01.39; 3. Kristi Brey (OW), 1:01.81. 500 freestyle: 1. K. Tippins (ONL), 5:34.85; 2. L. Tippins (ONL), 5:52.35; 3. Caroline Janotha (OW), 6:11.59. 200 freestyle relay: 1. North/Lourdes (Wilson, Levesque, Hammen, Eiler), 1:50.90; 2. North/Lourdes, 1:55.11; 3. West, 1:59.47. 100 backstroke: 1. Haertl (OW), 1:05.31; 2. Hammen (ONL), 1:09.04; 3. Latta (ONL), 1:15.44. 100 breaststroke: 1. Wilson (ONL), 1:12.82; 2. Spanbauer (ONL), 1:17.37; 3. Mackenzie Shew (OW), 1:21.64. 400 freestyle relay: 1. North/Lourdes (Hammen, Spanbauer, L. Tippins, K. Tippins), 4:05.77; 2. West, 4:20.11; 3. West, 4:26.69.