WIAA State Girls Swimming and Diving Championships Preview

State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships Preview

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 53rd Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Girls Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12, at the Waukesha South High School Natatorium.

ADMISSIONTICKETS: The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission is $9 plus online fees for adults and students. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at:  www.wiaawi.org/Tickets.

MEET INFORMATION: The Division 2 championships will be held Friday, with the Division 1 championships to follow on Saturday. The Division 2 diving competition begins at 1:30 p.m., and the swimming finals are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. The Division 1 diving competition is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the swimming events to begin at 2:30 p.m. The swimming events will run consecutively following the first event’s starting time on the respective days. Here is the order of events (all events in yards):

Order of Events:
1. Diving
2. 200 Medley Relay
3. 200 Freestyle
4. 200 Individual Medley
5. 50 Freestyle
6. 100 Butterfly
7. 100 Freestyle
8. 500 Freestyle
9. 200 Freestyle Relay
10. 100 Backstroke
11. 100 Breaststroke
12. 400 Freestyle Relay

MEET LIVE ON WIAA.TV:  Every event of the WIAA State Girls Swimming and Diving Championships will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for $11.99 per month, log-on to www.wiaa.tv and click on the subscription link. Archived streams of the events will be available on demand on the NFHS Network 72 hours after the tournament.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED:  In Division 1, each event winner from six sectionals and the next 18 fastest times or scores in the events from all sectionals combined will be added to the heats in each event. In Division 2, each event winner and the next 12 fastest times or scores from all of the four sectionals combined qualified.

BY THE NUMBERS: There were 138 teams sponsoring girls swimming and diving this fall, including 83 in Division 1 and 55 in Division 2.

LAST YEAR:  Brookfield East captured the Division 1 team championship for the third straight season, compiling 304.5 points. Runner-up Arrowhead finished with 264 points. Edgewood won the Division 2 team championship. The Crusaders scored 394 points, which was 206 points more than runner-up Rhinelander with 188 points.

MEET HISTORY:  The WIAA began girls swimming and diving championships in 1970 and moved to a two-division format in 1992. Madison area schools have dominated the championships through the years. Either Madison West or Madison Memorial won all the championships through 1983 and all but one of the Division 1 titles since the inception of the two-division format in 1992 up until 2002. Overall, Madison West has won 15 titles, and Madison Memorial has won 14. Arrowhead has captured 11 titles, and both Edgewood and Shorewood have seven championships.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES-DIVISION 1:  Five individual events and all three relays feature former champions returning to the State Meet. Among the returning champions is senior Campbell Stoll  of Arrowhead, who is a multi-champion in a pair of events. She is seeking her third title in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 butterfly. Stoll should be considered the favorite to win those events again based on her qualifying times. Her seed time of 2:00.72 in the 200 I.M. and her 54.43 in the 100 butterfly are the best in those events by a considerable margin. Senior Victoria Brostowitz of Waukesha West/Catholic Memorial and senior Peyton Drexler of Arrowhead should again compete for a medal in the 200 I.M. after placing second and fourth, respectively, in the event behind Stoll last year. A trio of Brookfield East swimmers return attempting to repeat as champions in their respective events. Senior Lucy Thomas attempts to win her fourth crown in the 100 breaststroke. She enters the State Meet with the quickest qualifying time of 59.26, which is more than three seconds faster than the next-best qualifier. Brostowitz and junior MacKenzie Thomas of the Badger/Big Foot/Westosha Central/Williams Bay/Wilmot co-op appear to be the most likely candidates to challenge Thomas for the title. Brostowitz has finished runner-up to Lucy Thomas the last two seasons, and MacKenzie Thomas has placed fourth the past two years. Lucy Thomas also appears to be the front-runner for the title in the 50 freestyle. She returns to the event this season with the swiftest seed time of 22.50 at sectionals after placing fifth as a freshman in 2019. Others challenging her for the gold medal are senior Hailey Tierney of Arrowhead, who finished third last year; junior Olivia Wanner of Waukesha West/Catholic Memorial, who placed fourth a year ago; and sophomore Jillian Holler of Madison Memorial, who was sixth. MacKenzie Thomas will also be in the mix for a medal in the 50 freestyle, placing seventh last year after a third-place finish in 2020. Another Brookfield East swimmer returning to the event she won last season is senior Reese Tiltmann. She looks to defend the title in the 500 freestyle after a runner-up finish in 2020 and a seventh-place finish in 2019. However, she’ll need to contend with freshman Ella Antoniewski of Waukesha South/Mukwonago, who has the fastest qualifying time of 4:54.09, which is more than six seconds faster than Tiltmann’s seed time of 5:00.76. Senior Peyton Drexler of Arrowhead and junior Kennedy Rainwater of Brookfield Central will each contend for a position on the medal stand after they placed third and fifth a year ago, respectively. Tiltmann is also the top returning swimmer in the 200 freestyle after placing second last season. She qualifies this season with the third-best qualifying time of 1:50.53. Senior Ellery Ottem of River Falls has the best seed time of 1:48.88 after finishing fourth a year ago, and in 2019, she won the Division 2 title in the event. Other medalists back in the qualifying field this year are senior Francesca Smith of Arrowhead, who placed third; junior Audrey Olen of Brookfield East, who was fifth; and junior Kaitlin Haag of Middleton, who was sixth in the 2020-21 alternate season. The third returning champion from Brookfield East is junior Maggie Wanezak, who is back to defend the crown she won last year in the 100 backstroke after finishing runner-up in 2020. Her seed time of 52.65 is more than three seconds faster than the next best qualifying performance turned in by junior Elizabeth Beam of Waukesha West/Catholic Memorial, who finished fourth last year. Sophomore Aspen Whowell of Badger/Big Foot/Westosha Central/Williams Bay/Wilmot co-op also returns in the event after medaling last season with a fifth-place finish. Wanezak also has the best qualifying time in the 100 freestyle at 49.52. She’ll compete with four swimmers that medaled in the event in 2021, including Smith, who was runner-up after placing fifth in 2020. Other competitors that placed in the top six last year qualifying in the event this season are Wanner, who was third following a sixth-place finish in 2020; Ottem who was fourth last year and the Division 2 champion in 2019; and Olen who was sixth. In the diving competition, junior Wylde  Chupich of the Badger/Big Foot/Westosha Central/Williams Bay/Wilmot co-op is the top returning performer from a year ago. She enters competition with the best sectional qualifying score of 511.35 after a runner-up finish last season. Senior Kristina Wittmann of Germantown is a strong contender for the championship as well, entering the meet with the second-best qualifying performance of 481.50 after placing third last year. Brookfield East is the returning champion in each of the relays. The Spartans won the past three titles in the 200 medley relay and the last two crowns in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.  They have the top qualifying times in the medley and 400 freestyle relays at 1:40.76 and 3:24.33, respectively. The Waukesha West/Catholic Memorial 200 freestyle could prevent the Spartans from attaining a third straight title in that event. It enters the meet with the fastest qualifying time of 1:34.72.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES-DIVISION 2: Two individual events and three relays feature returning champions seeking additional gold medals. Senior Izzy Enz of Edgewood is a two-time champion in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, winning the titles in the events last year and in the 2020-21 alternate season. She has the best qualifying time in the 200 freestyle at 1:52.49 this season. She’ll contend with three other competitors that have medaled  in the event at some point in their careers. Edgewood teammate, senior Brynn Stacey, finished behind Enz in second place last season and in the alternate season. Senior Casey Stephens of Whitefish Bay was sixth last season and third in 2020. Junior Abi Winnicki of Rhinelander placed ninth a year ago after a runner-up finish in 2020. Enz has the second-fastest seed time in the 500 freestyle at 5:09.00. The best time was turned in by Stephens at 5:01.60. who placed third last season after winning the championship in 2020 and placing sixth in 2019. Other medalists returning to the event are sophomore Sylvia Thompson of Edgewood, who placed fourth last year; senior Katherine Turner of Greendale, who placed sixth in 2021 and third in 2020; senior Libby Michel of Grafton, who was sixth last season; and senior Madeline Bunton of Ladysmith/Bloomer/Bruce/Flambeau/Lake Holcombe, who was fifth in 2020. The fastest qualifying time in the 50 freestyle was turned in by senior Lucy Art of Brown Deer/University School of Milwaukee at 23.45. She’ll compete with three swimmers that were on the award stand last season, including senior Anna Balfanz of Baraboo, who was third, and senior Sophie Reed of Edgewood, who was sixth. Senior Bry Bellile of Ashwaubenon also returns to the event. She was third as a freshman in 2019.  Bellile is the top returning swimmer in the 100 freestyle, and she possesses the best qualifying time of 51.29. Among her stiffest challenges for the title may come from junior teammate Sienna Nitke, who was third a year ago, and Winnicki, who was sixth last year after a third-place finish in 2020. The 200 individual medley features several swimmers with State experience. Michel has the quickest qualifying time of 2:04.75. She was eighth last season after placing fifth in 2020. Sophomore Izzy Bloom and senior Sam Vega of Edgewood were third and fourth in 2021, respectively, and senior Elise Jacobs of Shorewood finished fifth last season after placing fourth in 2020. Senior Katherine Turner of Greendale also returns to the event with hopes of attaining another medal as she did with her sixth-place finish in 2020. The competition for the 100 butterfly title appears to be wide open. Junior Jordyn Davis of Jefferson/Cambridge has the top seed time at 58.33 after placing 12th last year. Junior Paige Dekiep of Tomahawk is the top returning finisher from the meet a year ago, placing 10th. In addition, junior Ryann Nutt of New Berlin Eisenhower is less than a second off the best seed time at 58.59. Balfanz swam the fastest sectional time in the 100 backstroke at 56.73 after placing fifth last season. Jacobs has medaled twice in the event and will again contend for the title as the top returner in the event after placing fourth last season and runner-up in 2020. Senior Savannah Acker of Sauk Prairie should also be considered one of the favorites in the backstroke with a seed time just .07 slower than Balfanz’s after placing 10th in 2021. Junior Zoey Rank of Jefferson/Cambridge possesses the swiftest qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke at 1:05.89 after her fourth-place finish last season to go with a sixth-place finish during the alternate season. She needs to contend with, among others, senior Amber Winter of Merrill, who was third last season and has the second-fast time this season just .14 of a second of Rank’s pace. Junior McKenzie Stute of Baraboo also hopes to return to the medal stand after placing fifth last year. Senior Maranda Uttke of Grafton has a wealth of State Tournament experience and enters competition with the top qualifying performance in the diving competition at 438.45. She has medaled in each of her previous State Meets. Uttke was third last season and in 2020, and she placed sixth in 2019. Other medalist in the event are senior Kiera Wilson of Whitnall, who was sixth a year ago, and senior Madison Miracle of Brown Deer/University School of Milwaukee, who was fifth in 2020. The Edgewood 200 freestyle relay seeks its eighth consecutive championship, including the alternate season. The Crusaders have the fastest time in the event entering the meet at 1:38.33. The Crusaders’ 400 freestyle relay is attempting to win its seventh straight title, including the alternate season. They have the second-best time in the event at 3:36.12.  Whitefish Bay clocked in with the best time in the relay at 3:36.04. Edgewood also attempts to repeat as champions in the 200 medley relay, entering with a time of 1:50.43, which is seeded third in the event. Jefferson/Cambridge has the quickest qualifying time at 1:49.03.

FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaaswimdive. Also like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi. 

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?:  All rosters and qualifiers are available on the girls swimming and diving Tournament Information pages on the WIAA website. Additional information about the State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships can be downloaded or reviewed on the WIAA website.

NEED RESULTS?:  Results of the State Tournament are available on the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org by accessing the girls swimming and diving tournament information page.

STATE MEET APPAREL:  WIAA-licensed apparel is available online for the 2022 State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships. The deadline to pre-order and customize apparel for pick-up at the State Meet is Nov. 7. Visit the WIAA store at www.tier1sports.com. Apparel will also be available for purchase and customization onsite as well as online after the event.

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]