WIAA girls swimming preview: Edgewood a heavy favorite in Division 2, but Middleton faces a challenge
What: The 49th annual WIAA state girls swimming and diving championships.
When: Friday (Division 2) and Saturday (Division 1).
Where: University of Wisconsin Natatorium, 2000 Observatory Drive.
Tickets: Tickets will be sold as available at the door for$6 ($1 for children age 6 and younger).
Parking: Friday — Between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., $8 at Lots 36, 57, 58 and 62 (meters are enforced); after 4:30 p.m., free at Lots 59, 60, 62 and 64. Saturday — Free at Lots 57, 60, 62 and 64; $5 in Ramp 76.
Schedule: Friday (Division 2) — Diving, 2:30 p.m.; swimming (timed finals), 6:30 p.m. Saturday (Division 1) — Diving, 10 a.m.; swimming (timed finals), 3 p.m.
On the Web: Every event will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis. Heat/lane assignments, frequently updated results, additional information and meet history available at www.wiaawi.org/Sports/GirlsSwimmingDiving.aspx
Defending champions: Team — Division 1, Middleton (second consecutive title); Division 2, Madison Edgewood (third consecutive title). Individuals — Division 1, six individuals and all three relays return; Division 2, three individuals and all three relays return.
Three things to watch
Faster and faster: In Division 1, top qualifying times set in last Saturday’s sectional meets dropped to their fastest times ever in five of the eight individual events. In Division 2, fastest-ever top qualifying times were established in three individual events and the 400 freestyle relay.
Division 2 dominance: Area swimmers competing in Saturday’s Baraboo sectional were far ahead of the swimmers in the other three Division 2 sectionals. In the 100-yard freestyle, area swimmers recorded the best seven times and claimed 11 berths (of 16 overall). Locals also recorded six of the best eight times in the 50 free and earned the No. 1 spots in eight of the 11 swimming events. Although the Baraboo sectional was just one of four statewide, its swimmers claimed 76 of 99 available state berths.
Relay good: The three relay events (200 medley, 200 free, 400 free) carry team point values double those of individual events, serving as incentive for coaches to put their best swimmers into relays. Edgewood, the defending champion and state-meet record-holder in all three D2 relays, is the top qualifier in each race this year. In Division 1,
Teams to watch
Division 1: Two-time defending champion Middleton beat Cedarburg by a 71.5-point margin last year, 313.5-242. That is likely to change drastically this year, as a scored comparison of sectional performances by the state swim coaches’ website, wisca.net, gives Cedarburg 194 points, Middleton 191.5 and Sun Prairie 163. Middleton’s chances took quite a blow when its 400 relay was disqualified last week, due to an improper start. Cedarburg was the top qualifier and a victory on Saturday would mean a 40-point advantage over the Cardinals in team scoring. But then, Cedarburg entered last year’s state meet with a “mock meet” lead over the Cardinals. This year, Cedarburg has qualified six individuals in nine events, plus three relays; Middleton leads the field with entrants in 15 events. But no team has won the state title with only two relays qualifiers since the state tournament went to two divisions in 1992. Sun Prairie has 12 entries, led by sophomore Sophie Fiske. Hartland Arrowhead has 14 qualifiers and Waukesha South/Mukwonago has 13.
Division 2: With a triumphant performance in last week’s Baraboo sectional, Madison Edgewood advanced 15 individuals and three relays to state — six more individuals than McFarland, which also qualified in all three relays. The Crusaders have at least one qualifier in every swimming event. McFarland, which has two runner-up team finishes and one third-place finish in the last three years, holds a slight edge over Tomahawk in the comparison of sectional performances — which scores Edgewood with 313 points, McFarland with 207 and Tomahawk with 185. Baraboo and Monroe/New Glarus hope to challenge for top-five finishes and Jefferson/Cambridge, Stoughton and Sauk Prairie could swim their way into the top 10.
Swimmers to watch
Hannah Aegerter, sr., Middleton: Recorded the top qualifying time in the 200 freestyle (1:52.02) after taking fourth in the event last year and second in 2016.
Kaitlyn Barth, sr., Madison Edgewood: Turned in the top qualifying time in the D2 100 butterfly (:57.16). Last year, she finished second in the 100 free, third in the 50 free and first in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relays.
Grace Bennin, sr., Verona/Mount Horeb: The defending state champ in the 50 freestyle (:23.27) and 100 free (1:02.17), Bennin this year qualified first in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.14) and second in the 200 individual medley (2:04.08).
Sophie Fiske, so., Sun Prairie: Last year, the freshman took third in the 50 freestyle and swam on three placewinning relays. This year, she qualified second in the 50 and 100 freestyle races and anchored two top-qualifying relays.
Mekenzie Hammer, so., Monroe/New Glarus: The defending state champ in the 100 backstroke, Hammer last week qualified in the No. 2 position with a time of :57.99. Also turned in the fastest sectional qualifying time ever in the D2 200 individual medley (2:09.90) after taking fifth last year.
Katrina Marty, sr., Madison West: The two-time defending D1 champion in the 100 backstroke (:53.88 last year) and qualified with the fourth-best sectional mark this year (:56.29). Last week, Marty recorded the fastest qualifying time ever in the 100 butterfly (:55.36) after taking third last year and second in 2016.
Alexandra Moderski, sr., McFarland: Not only the defending state champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle, Moderski enters state as a three-time champ in the 50 free and two-time champ in the 100 free, and is the state-meet record-holder in both events (both set in 2015). She enters this year with the top qualifying time in both events (:24.13 in the 50 free; :51.44 in the 100 free) and hopes to become the 17th girl to win the same event four times.
Gabriela Pierobon Mays, jr., Middleton: Last year, she won the D1 title in the 100 butterfly (:55.04) and 200 medley relay (1:42.92) and took third in the 100 backstroke and 400 free relay. She also won the 100 fly in 2016. This year, Pierobon Mays has qualified in both individual events and the 200 relay this year.
Anna teDuits, fr., Madison Edgewood: The latest entry from one of Madison-area swimming’s elite families, teDuits’ sectional time in the 100 backstroke (:57.99) was the fastest recorded in meet history. Also qualified in the 200 IM.
Dee Dee Walker, jr., Madison Edgewood: Fought off the flu last week to qualify eighth in the 200 and 10th in the 500 freestyle races. She finished second in the 200 and third in the 500 last year.
Division 1 relays: Relay events score double the team points as individual events, giving coaches incentive to load them with star swimmers. Middleton is the defending state champ in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay, and finished second to Cedarburg in the 400 free. This year, Middleton qualified second in the 200 free relay (behind Sun Prairie) and fifth in the 200 medley relay, but the Cardinals were disqualified in the sectional 400 freestyle relay for an improper start. Sun Prairie qualified first in that event.
Division 2 relays: Madison Edgewood is the defending champion in all three Division 2 relays, and earned the top qualifying times in all three events — including the fastest qualifying time in meet history in the 400 free relay (3:34.58), 3.5 seconds better than the next qualifier.
Abby Carlson, so., Waukesha South/Mukwonago: Her sectional qualifying time in the 500 freestyle (4:58.73) was the fastest in meet history, and more than 2 seconds better than No. 2 qualifier Hannah Aegerter of Middleton. She took fifth in the event last year.
Kennedy Gilbertson, sr., Stevens Point: The top qualifier in the D1 100 freestyle (:52.01), just .03 ahead of Sun Prairie’s Sophie Fiske.
Ella Houwers, so., Whitewater: Top qualifier in the 100 breaststroke (:1:05.88) after taking second in the event last year.
Emma Lasecki, jr., Bay Port: Turned in the fastest qualifying time in meet history in the D1 200 individual medley (2:03.83). Also seeded fourth in the 100 butterfly (:56.16).
Av Osero, jr., Neenah: The defending D1 diving champ returns with the top qualifying mark (570.85 points).
Erika Remington, sr., Cedarburg: Produced the fastest-ever qualifying time in the D1 50 freestyle (:23.58). Swam on the winning 400 relay crew last year.
Cassie Stegner, jr., Menomonee Falls/Sussex Hamilton: The defending champ in the D1 100 and 200 freestyle, Stegner returns with the No. 5 qualifying time in the 100 and No. 4 in the 200.
Kyle Theiler, jr., Tomahawk: Earned top D2 qualifying times in the 200 free (1:53.62) and 500 free (5:09.50). Took fourth in both events last year.
Reilly Tiltmann, so., Brookfield East: Her qualifying time in the 100 backstroke was the fastest every recorded in a sectional (:55.29). Took fourth last year in both that event and the 100 butterfly.
— Art Kabelowsky