With a shorthanded roster due to illness and other issues, John Burroughs girls swim coach Leslie Kehr knew going in to Tuesday's season-opening meet against Cor Jesu Academy, that her Bombers might have trouble earning enough points to earn a team win.
So instead of worrying about victories, Kehr wanted her swimmers to simply focus on making a strong first showing of the season, with an eye on improving as a group throughout the season.
And that's pretty much what the Bombers delivered at the Cissel Center Pool, finishing with five wins in 12 events in what proved to be a 119-59 team loss to the Chargers.
"I thought the girls did pretty good out here today," Kehr said. "We knew we didn't have everybody. There are some girls out sick and some girls not eligible, so we just did the best we could."
JBS' best turned out to be not bad at all for a first meet of the season.
And in the case of freshman Maddie Wessel, it was flat-out incredible, as she broke two school records that had each been around longer than she's been alive.
In the 100-meter freestyle, Wessel won the race easily, in 53.75 seconds, which nearly three seconds faster than the old record of 56.18, which had been set by M.N. George back in 1994.
Then just a little while later, Wessel won the 100-meter backstroke in 59.61 seconds, which bested Katie Moran's 1988 school record time of 1.03.63.
Wessel also swam on JBS' two victorious relay teams in the 200-meter medley and the 400-meter freestyle relay.
"I'm just really excited for her, that's incredible," Kehr said. "In her first meet, she breaks two records. That's just unbelievable."
The Bombers nearly had a third record broken in its other individual win, as another freshman, Barrett Carlson won the 50-meter freestyle in 25.84 seconds, which was just .04 ticks off the current record.
"She was so close," Kehr said. "We were all pulling for her to get it. She was right there. But she's another great little swimmer we have. It's going to be fun to just watch them all develop."
Kehr cited Liz Jackson, Jessica Ryan, and Amanda Cao as others that swam particularly well on Tuesday.
Cor Jesu got individual race wins from Arleen Luhman (200 free); Molly Burke (200 individual medley); Caroline Lewis (100 butterfly); Katherine Gelfand (500 free); and Cara DeBellis (100 breast).
The Chargers also earned first-place points by winning the 200-meter freestyle relay, and claiming a clean sweep in the diving competition, as JBS didn't have anyone participate in that event.
The Bombers will host three more meets in the next eight days, with a one-on-one matchup against Lutheran St. Charles High on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Then next week, the Bombers will host a tri-meet against Lutheran South and Trinity Catholic on Tuesday, December 11, and another dual meet against Cape Notre Dame on Friday, December 14.