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benin photo 11-10

Verona Area/Mount Horeb's Grace Bennin reacts after taking first place in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.13 during last year's WIAA Division 1 girls state meet at the UW Natatorium.


What: The 48th annual WIAA state girls swimming and diving championships.

Where: University of Wisconsin Natatorium, 2000 Observatory Drive.

Tickets/parking: Tickets are $6 per day. Parking may be available for purchase at nearby lots and structures. However, with a University of Wisconsin football home game on Saturday, parking is expected to be extremely limited and alternate transportation methods are recommended.

On the air/streaming: Every event will be streamed live on a paid-subscription basis on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network. Free archived streams will be available three days after the event.

On the Web: Lane assignments, live results, lineups and meet history can be found at

Last year: Team — Middleton won the Division 1 team championship with Verona/Mount Horeb second. In Division 2, Edgewood took first and McFarland was second, each for the second consecutive year. Individual — In Division 1, 2016 champions return in 10 of the 11 swimming events, including all three relays. In Division 2, champs return in six events (including two relays).

Schedule: Friday — Division 2 diving, 2:30 p.m.; Division 2 swimming, 6:30 p.m. Saturday — Division 1 diving, 10 a.m.; Division 1 swimming, 3 p.m.



Dane County Invitational: The bulk of the state qualifying field is determined by comparing times across all sectionals. That was good news for swimmers in the Middleton (Division 1) and Stoughton (Division 2) sectionals, which packed the field with qualifiers from Dane County schools and their conferences — 80 in Division 1 and 80 in Division 2. So in Division 2, swimmers from Dane County schools and their conferences comprised 44.5 percent of the 176 qualifiers in the 11 swimming events, including 10 of the 16 qualifiers (and eight of the top nine) in the 100 freestyle, and nine of the 16 in the 50 freestyle. In Division 1, 30.2 percent of the 265 swimming qualifiers came from county schools and their conferences.

Bulldogs, Crusaders lead “mock meet:” According to a mock meet conducted by, scoring sectional performances as if they took place in a single meet, Cedarburg (264 points) is favored to edge defending champ Middleton (255.5 points) and Hartland Arrowhead (202) in the Division 1 team race. Verona/Mount Horeb is listed fourth in the Division 1 mock meet. It would be Cedarburg’s first state title. In Division 2, the mock meet picks Madison Edgewood as the favorite to win a third straight title, by 100.5 points over New Berlin Eisenhower. McFarland is pegged for third and DeForest fifth in Division 2. 

Middleton’s Hannah Aegerter: After swimming in the 200 freestyle early in the sectional meet, Middleton junior Hannah Aegerter had to be taken from the Middleton pool to a local hospital due to what coach Lauren Cabalka called a “medical emergency.” She did qualify for state in the 200 free, but she did not compete in the 500 free or on Middleton’s two freestyle relays. She was released on Saturday night. On Wednesday, coach Lauren Cabalka said Aegerter has been cleared to swim in the 200 free on Saturday, but Cabalka declined further comment. Last year, Aegerter took second in the 200 free and swam on both winning relays.

Relay, relay good: A big part of the secret to state-meet success is fielding strong relay crews — after all, relay events carry double the score of individual events. In Division 1, defending champ Middleton has the top qualifying time in all three relays. Cedarburg is seeded second in all three relays. In Division 2, defending champ Madison Edgewood ranks No. 1 in two relays and No. 2 (behind New Berlin Eisenhower) in the 400 free relay.



Katrina Marty, jr., Madison West: Holds the top qualifying times in both the 100 butterfly (:55.55) and the 100 backstroke (:54.56). She’s the defending champ in the backstroke.

Verona/Mount Horeb: Comes in with the No. 1 seeding in both the 50-yard freestyle (23.52 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.03). She was second in the breaststroke last year.

Sophie Henshue, sr., Verona/Mount Horeb: Enters with the top qualifying mark in the 500 freestyle (5:00.41) and is the area’s top qualifier in the 200 free (1:52.48).

Julia Stupar, sr., Stevens Point: Qualified with the top times in both the 100 freestyle (:51.11) and 200 freestyle (1:50.30).

Emma Lasecki, so., Bay Port: Leads the field in the 200 individual medley with a qualifying time of 2:05.24.

Lillie Hosack, sr., Cedarburg: The defending champion and state record-holder in the 200 individual medley enters with the third-best qualifying time (2:05.82). During the regular season, Hosack’s best time of 2:04.92 led the rest of the state by more than 1.5 seconds.

Gabriela Pierobon Mays, so., Middleton: The defending champion in the 100 butterfly, Pierobon enters this year with the fifth-best qualifying time, more than a second behind event leader Marty of West.

Adriana Avila, sr., Cedarburg: Posted the best qualifying mark in diving (509.35 points) after taking seventh last year, and could give the Bulldogs an early boost in the team race. However, Neenah sophomore Av Osero returns as defending champion and is ranked second (495.90).

Gwen Gustafson, sr., Brookfield Central: The defending champ in the 50 freestyle enters with the No. 7 qualifying mark this year.

Abby Cabush, sr., Hartland Arrowhead: The defending champ in the 200 freestyle (and 2014 runner-up) qualified sixth this year (1:50.30).

Cora Mack, jr., Middleton: Last year’s runner-up in the 100 freestyle, Mack enters with the No. 9 qualifying time (:52.94).

Middleton relays: The Cardinals lead the field in the 200 medley relay (1:44.40), the 200 freestyle relay (1:36.54) and the 400 free relay (3:29.89).


Kelly Rodriguez, sr., Madison Edgewood: The two-time defending champion in the 200 freestyle enters with the top qualifying time (1:52.97).

Alexandra Moderski, jr., McFarland: After setting a Division 2 record in the 100 freestyle in 2015 and taking second last year, she enters with the top seeding in the event (:52.06). She’s also the two-time defending champ in the 50 free and is seeded first (:23.47). She’ll also be a key to McFarland’s relay strategy.

Jenna Silvestri, sr., Madison Edgewood: Earned the Division 2 title in the 100 breaststroke last year as part of the Kohler co-op; after transferring to the Madison area and enrolling at Edgewood, she holds the top seeding in that event (1:06.17) and the 200 freestyle (1:52.97).

Mekenzie Hammer, fr., Monroe/New Glarus: Has a chance to be one of the meet’s top newcomers, entering with the No. 1 seeding in the 100 backstroke (:57.80) and the No. 7 seeding in the 200 individual medley (2:13.62).

Nikki Benedict, sr., Monona Grove: Turned in the top qualifying mark in diving (445.65) after taking second last year and third in 2015.

Bella Passamani, sr., New Berlin Eisenhower: The defending champ in the 100 butterfly, Passamani earned the No. 2 seeding this year (:57.27), along with the top seeding in the 500 freestyle (5:06.24). She also swims on the top-seeded 400 free relay (3:45.52).

Katie Hayes, jr., Brown Deer/University School of Milwaukee: Comes in with the top seeding in the 100 butterfly (:57.05).

Madison Edgewood relays: The Crusaders enter with the top qualifying marks in the 200 medley relay (1:46.09) and 200 freestyle relay (1:37.46), and are seeded second in the 400 free relay (3:45.52).

— Art Kabelowsky


Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.