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Cheese closing the gap
Times photo: Adam Krebs Monroes Kendell Niffenegger nears the turn while trailing Fort Atkinsons Hannah Johnson during the 50-meter freestyle Tuesday. Niffenegger finished third in the race and set a personal record with a time of 30.21 seconds.
MONROE - The Cheesemakers' swim team may have lost its dual to Fort Atkinson, Tuesday, 93-77, but head coach Linda Moser liked what she saw.

"We raced well. There were some really close races tonight and that's what I like to see," she said. "If you look at the times, some were sluggish, and they know that. That's something we still need to work on."

After swimming her athletes at full force for nearly two months, some slow times are to be expected, according to Moser.

"I've liked what I've seen from the beginning. In the past, we've started fast and then don't do well at all, and I haven't seen that yet, which keeps me hopeful," she said. "Once it comes conference time and sectionals, when we need it, it will be there. They are going to taper well and we will be getting our very best times."

Jessica Weeden won both of her individual races, which included the 100-meter freestyle (1:01.77) and 100 breaststroke (1:21.87). Weeden also was on both the 200 free relay team (2:01:43) and 400 free relay team (4:28.98), which took second.

Leanna Schwartzlow took first place in the 200 individual medley (2:33.71), knocking off her closest competitor by nearly nine seconds. Schwartzlow finished third in the 100 free (1:05.53) and was apart of the 400 relay team, as well as the 200 medley relay team (2:16.88), which finished first.

Freshman Rachel Root finished first in the 100 back (1:10.13), second in the 200 free (2:23.97) and was on both the 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay.

"Leanna Schwartzlow PR'd (personal record) in both of her events, Kendell Niffenegger also PR'd in the 50 free (30.21 seconds), which she has been trying to break forever. There were some really good things that happened," Moser said.

Monroe has just two duals remaining this season, at Milton on Oct. 13 and home against Monona Grove on Oct. 20. The Cheesemakers will also travel to two invites (Fort Atkinson and Platteville) before the Oct. 30 Badger Conference meet at Stoughton. With a month to go before conference and sectionals, which don't require depth, Moser likes her team's odds with its conditioning and top-of-the-line swimmers.

"We can't beat anybody (in a dual) because of our depth. We'll be this way for another three or four years, that's where we are in the cycle," Moser said. "We have the talent and the work ethic to (compete) at conference and sectionals."