By Jennifer Eisenbart

Sports editor

While Burlington co-op swim coach Ken France admittedly wanted more out of Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state swim meet at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison, even he had to admit it was a great day for his swimmers.

Two Burlington swimmers earned three medals, and the team placed 13th among the 43 teams represented in Madison.

“I think as a team, we did well,” France said. “You always want more. The fact of the matter is, the girls, they did a great job, and I’m very proud of them.”

Leading the way were junior Serena Wanasek and sophomore Sara Wanasek, who accounted for the three medals.

Serena took fifth in both the 200 freestyle (1:52.66) and 500 free (5:05.50). Both were drops in her seed times – by 1.32 seconds in the 200 and by .04 in the 500 free.

She also swam the fastest split on the squad’s 200 free relay (23.86), as she, her sister, Anna Gomez and Brittany Ehlert swam to 15th in 1:41.11 – and added a 52.42 split in the 400 free relay.

That team – both Wanaseks, Anna Gomez and Abby Hansen – took ninth in 3:37.58.

Sara Wanasek, meanwhile, dropped time in both the 200 and 500 free, taking 13th in the former (1:55.80) and sixth in the latter (5:07.62).

“For Serena to get her first two individual medals was important,” France said. “I was very, very proud and happy for both Sara and Serena.

“Plus both of them just did great jobs on the relays,” the coach added. “I just can’t say enough about those two. They’re great.”

The final co-op representative in the distance event, Anna Gomez, posted a time of 1:57.79 in the 200 free to finish 18th and 5:16.05 for 18th in the 500 free.

“She came down a little in the 200, which was nice to see,” France said. “And she ended up going a 54 (seconds) in the 400 free relay, which was fantastic.”

Anna’s sister, Emily, took 23rd in the 100 backstroke (1:00.94) – not bad for two swimmers who basically learned how to swim when they hit the pool as freshmen.

“They were pretty raw,” France said. “They were typical new JV swimmers. They just worked hard off season … and it sure paid off for them to qualify as individuals their senior years.”

Burlington’s other individual representative was senior Abby Hansen, who finished 24th in the 100 back in 1:01.07. But both Hansen and Emily Gomez tapered (rested to drop time) for the sectionals, and struggled a bit in the backstroke at state.

“Abby and Emily both in the backstroke tapered at sectionals to get there,” France said. “Sometimes it’s hard to carry it over.

“They both did a gallant effort,” France added. “Abby did a great job in the 400 free relay, to come down three seconds on her split (55.21).”

It was also a good day for ex-Burlington swimmer Anna Brooks, who now swims at Badger. The junior finished second in both the 50 free (23.79) and the 100 free (51.36) and helped Badger finish third in the 200 free relay.

Brooks was also on the sidelines helping out Burlington during the 500 free, holding the lap counter for Sara Wanasek.

It was the final meet for several seniors, including Ehlert, both Gomez sisters and Hansen. Coriann Dorgay also will graduate in the spring, as will Camille Neitzel.

All competed as individuals at the sectional meet, and were in the pool backing up the team for the relays at state. Neitzel and Dorgay served as team captains with Serena Wanasek this season.

“It’s a great graduating class,” France said. “They will be very hard to replace next year.”

The team celebrated their season with a banquet Tuesday evening. Award winners were: Coaches’ Award, Sara Wanasek; Most Improved Swimmer: Coriann Dorgay; Spirit Award: Candace Dziubinski; Most Valuable Swimmer: Serena Wanasek; Captains for 2012: Serena Wanasek, Dziubinski, Sara Wanasek and Marah Zinnen.