In short, in 2015, the Menomonee Falls/Hamilton girls swim team was a year away.
Filled with talented but still developing freshmen and sophomores, the Indians turned in many really good times, times that would have easily qualified for the WIAA state meet in past seasons.
But in the great, great WIAA girls swim campaign of 2015, where state records fell like so many autumn leaves, that was not good enough for the locals to qualify anyone for the state meet.
The Indians remember that, and remember it well, and they look to make amends in a big way.
The freshmen are now sophomores and the sophomores are now juniors, and they are getting help from some talented freshmen like school-record setter Cassie Stegner. They all combined to lead the Indians to a very impressive opening week, beating area rival Germantown in a season opening dual Aug. 18 (see sportswraps) and then claiming the title in the 11-team Tosa West Early Bird Invite on Aug. 20.
"This weekend's meet and Thursday's meet were full team efforts," said coach Kelsey Ogle. "Every kid and every race matters. These girls are hungry and really motivated after just missing the state meet last year."
The experienced Indians' squad took part in the seven-team Waukesha North Invite on Aug. 24 and now will be off until they open Greater Metro Conference action with a 6 p.m. home dual against DSHA on Sept. 8.
They look more than ready to not only get people to state but to also challenge for honors in the GMC title this fall.
They scored 438 points to win the Tosa Invite while Lake Geneva Badger was second with 372 and GMC rival Brookfield Central was well back in third with 237.
Stegner was impressive in her big opening meet.
She dominated the 200-yard freestyle by more than three seconds in setting a new school mark of 1:55.73 and then blew away the field in the 500 free by more than 17 seconds with a clocking of 5:19.69.
She also anchored the 4x100 relay team that included fellow freshman Moira Shea as well as senior Jenny Wesolowski and junior Sarah Scargill to a five-plus second victory in 3:47.74; and helped the Indians' 4x50 free relay of junior Becca Schoenauer, sophomore Maya Barwick and Wesolowski take second in a fine time of 1:44.43 as Hartford won in 1:43.53.
"Cassie's a great kid who can swim anything," said Ogle.
Scargill was also a winner in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.19).
Other seconds for the Indians included the 4x50 medley relay team of Schoenauer, Scargill, sophomore Rachel Koch and sophomore Nicole Simson (1:54.53); Koch in the 100 butterfly (1:01.74) and Schoenauer in the 100 backstroke (1:03.23); while thirds went to Koch in the 200 individual medley (2:23.93); and Schoenauer in the 50 free (26.39).
Also earning top places for Falls/Hamilton included the following: 200 free: Wesolowski, fifth (2:05.53); sophomore Natalie Harms, seventh (2:10.74); 50 free: Barwick, seventh (26.64); Simson, eighth (26.82); 100 butterfly: Wesolowski, fifth (1:05.17); 100 free: Shea, fourth (59.09); Simson, fifth (59.99); junior Megan Gundrum, seventh (1:01.57); 500 free: Harms, fifth (5:46.76); freshman Jamie Peterson, sixth (5:56.33); 100 backstroke: Shea, fourth (1:05.51); and 100 breaststroke: Barwick, sixth (1:14.72).