Wenn focuses on wins at meet

STRASBURG – When freshman Casey Wenn arrived at the Signal Knob Recreation Center indoor pool, she had more than just the normal case of jitters high-school swimmers always have.

She also had something else, something far more important, happen to her earlier in the day. This she needed to deal with too.

She did so by swimming.

Wenn streaked to gold medals in the girls 50-yard fee-style and the 100-yard freestyle Thursday night in the annual Shenandoah County meet. This one was being made up after it was weathered out earlier in the season.

According to Central coach Steve Shaffer, Wenn’s father, Bill, was taken to a local medical center earlier in the day where he was later listed in “stable condition.”

After texting Wenn’s mother, Carolyn, and talking to his first-year varsity member at class, it was decided that Casey would go ahead and swim against her county neighbors.

She won each race by respective times of 29.25 and 1:05.39, respectively.

“Truthfully, when I’m swimming it helps,” she said after her team finished runnerup to Strasburg and following the Falcons’ boys’ victory over the Rams.

Strasburg’s girls won their side of the ledger with 122 points to 117 for Central and 42 for Stonewall Jackson.

“Four years ago (the girls) won it. Central is always very good,” said Strasburg coach Ina Mae Crisman. “It’s always competitive in this meet and (the girls) are happy with their championship.”

“Good for them. They swam well,” said Shaffer.

Central’s boys claimed their county championship with 136 points to 116 for Strasburg and 33 for Stonewall Jackson.

“Casey came to us as a freshman without any competitive background in her past and she’s done a great job making up the time. This was, by far, her best meet of the season,” said Shaffer.

“If anything, it relieves stress, because you only have one thing to think about,” said Wenn.

Not that her father’s situation was far from her thoughts.

“I texted him the first two results,” she said proudly.

“It’s one of the joys of coaching – seeing someone come up and come around like she’s done,” Shaffer said.

Wenn also swam a leg on Central’s winning 200-yard freestyle relay team (1:55.41). She also was a member of the Falcons’ winning 400-yard freestyle relay team (4:40.76).

Falcon sophomore Ashley Funkhouser was champion of the girls 100-yard butterfly (1:06.60) and 200-yard individual medley (2:27.99). She also swam a leg on the winning girls 200-yard freestyle relay and the gold-medal winning Central 200-yard medley relay team.

While Wenn and Funkhouser won two on the girls side, Central’s Dean Woodwell earned firsts in the boys 100-yard butterfly (1:01.60) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:21.6).

“Dean Woodwell is another swimmer who works during the season. He also is the goalkeeper for the boys soccer team, but when he’s in-season he works at it,” said Shaffer.

Another dual winner Thursday was Strasburg’s Paschal Bruder. The French foreign exchange student finished first in the boys 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.16). He also won a gold medal in 500-yard freestyle (5:41.18).

Bruder, a senior, is an “open water” swimmer at home; in that he competes in races on rivers, lakes and the ocean.

“That’s why he’s so good in his distances,” said Crisman.

Bruder also swam a leg on the Rams’ winning boys 200-yard freestyle relay team (1:39.69) and also filled a roll on Strasburg’s winning 200-yard medley relay team (1:52.87).