Madison Edgewood has built its girls swimming and diving program on a solid foundation based on hard work, talent and togetherness.
From year to year, newcomers learn about the team’s values as they become part of the Crusaders’ culture.
“They walk on the team and are around people who are trying to be the best version of themselves,” Edgewood’s sixth-year coach Emily Schwabe said. “And they are around people who are trying to get better. When you are around that, it is really contagious. … When you are around girls who are working hard, who are trying to accomplish bigger things, you want to do that, too.
“They work very hard and they also have a lot of fun. Definitely a huge value of ours is to make sure we are valuing the experience and valuing the journey.”
This season’s journey ended Friday night in a familiar place — with a victory leap into the University of Wisconsin Natatorium pool. That signified the Crusaders were celebrating yet another championship at the WIAA Division 2 state girls swimming and diving meet.
Edgewood sophomore Anna teDuits won the 200-yard individual medley, senior Maeve O’Driscoll was first in the 50 freestyle and the top-ranked Crusaders swept the three relays, including setting two new state records, during a dominating performance.
“I’m feeling great,” O’Driscoll said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a perfect day.”
The Crusaders piled up 290 points and won their fifth consecutive Division 2 championship, which tied the all-division record for consecutive team titles. Hartland Arrowhead won five straight Division 1 titles from 2002-06.
“They surpassed any expectations,” Schwabe said. “They surprised me in every single way. They swam with their heart, they swam with their mind, they swam for their teammates and really outdid themselves today.”
Third-ranked McFarland finished as runner-up with 163.5 points. Fourth-ranked Ashwaubenon was third with 141.5.
“We are so excited,” said McFarland coach Jessica Garvey, whose team was second for the second straight year. “We scored the meet before we got here and we knew it was going to be close with us and Ashwaubenon — by about two points. … This is really a team effort that we could still pull this off after not having Alex (Moderski, who graduated) with us this year. The team really rallied.”
Edgewood showed it meant business from the start, winning three of the first four swimming events.
The Crusaders’ team of teDuits, sophomore Abby Reid, freshman Izzy Enz and O’Driscoll established a new state record of 1 minute, 44.51 seconds in the 200 medley relay, breaking Edgewood’s mark of 1:44.59 in 2017.
O’Driscoll’s blazing freestyle (22.50 seconds) on the final leg was 2.38 seconds better than the next fastest competitor and secured the victory. McFarland was second (1:47.20) and Baraboo finished third (1:48.59).
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“(O’Driscoll) came out smoking and didn’t stop from there,” Schwabe said.
Edgewood’s teDuits earned first in the 200 individual medley, finishing in a personal-best 2:06.28 and holding off Whitewater junior Ella Houwers, the runner-up in 2:06.99.
“Going into the season, I wasn’t really expecting it,” teDuits said. “I’m just really excited. It was a really tough race. It was really fun to see a ‘1’ (on the scoreboard) because last year I got second (in the 100 backstroke).”
O’Driscoll then won the 50 freestyle championship in a personal-best :23.30, with Reid second in :23.49.
Edgewood won the 200 freestyle relay for the fifth consecutive time, setting a state record. O’Driscoll, senior Diana “DeeDee” Walker, freshman Sophie Reed and Abby Reid were clocked in 1:34.76, breaking Edgewood’s mark of 1:35.26 in 2017. DeForest finished second (1:39.62) and Sauk Prairie third (1:40.22).
Edgewood won the 400 freestyle relay for the fourth straight year. The team of Enz, teDuits, Reed and Walker finished in 3:29.54.
Houwers defended her title in the 100 breaststroke, winning in 1:05.07. McFarland seniors Emily Landwehr (1:05.89) and Ella Weaver (1:06.64) were second and third, respectively. Baraboo sophomore Ella Lohr finished fourth (1:06.69).
River Falls freshman Ellery Ottem and Rhinelander sophomore Malia Francis each won two individual events.
Ottem was the 200 freestyle winner in 1:49.54, finishing ahead of runner-up Enz (1:52.55). Stoughton junior Sofia Bormett, the defending champion, placed fourth (1:54.56).
Ottem later won the 100 freestyle (:50.70). Reid was second (:51.59) and O’Driscoll and Ashwaubenon freshman Bry Bellile tied for third (:51.70).
Francis was the 100 butterfly winner in :56.23. Enz and Landwehr tied for third (:58.09).
Francis also won the 100 backstroke (:54.72). McFarland sophomore Mara Freeman, the defending champion, was runner-up (:55.68), while teDuits took third (:55.97).
Ashwaubenon junior Hallory Domnick claimed the 500 freestyle title (5:04.85). Monroe/New Glarus sophomore Morgan Erstad was third (5:14.47).
Hales Corners Whitnall junior Bella Smith won the diving competition with 440.60 points.
****The 2020 WIAA boys swimming and diving meet in February will remain at the UW Natatorium, said WIAA assistant director Tom Shafranski, the meet manager for the 50th annual girls state meet.
UW recently announced in a release that construction and weather challenges have delayed the opening of the Nicholas Recreation Center (the previous Southeast Recreational Facility or SERF). It had been expected to open in January, 2020. But now it’s not expected to open before the latter part of 2020.