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BOYS SWIMMING | 2020-2021 WSJ ALL-AREA TEAM

All-area boys swimming: Sun Prairie swimmer Ben Wiegand earns Swimmer of the Year honors

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Never mind the distractions and delays. The 2020-2021 boys swimming season turned out to be pure magic for the Sun Prairie Cardinals.

Coach Joel Coyne’s team got a late start to the season due to COVID-19 restrictions. But the swimmers kept up with their private, virtual and small-group workout sessions, waiting for the chance to make a mark.

They did just that at the WIAA Division 1 state meet, winning the program’s first championship with 232.5 points.

And at the center of that championship performance was senior sprinter Ben Wiegand, whose involvement in two event championships and two runner-up finishes earned him the title of Wisconsin State Journal All-Area Swimmer of the Year. Also, Coyne earned the State Journal’s All-Area Coach of the Year title.

Wiegand, a University of Wisconsin commit, won the Division 1 title in the 100-yard freestyle (44.08 seconds) and took second in the 50 freestyle (:19.92). He also joined junior Ethan Braatz and seniors Avery Lodahl and J.P. Anhalt to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:22.69, a state-meet record) and finish second in the meet’s concluding event, the 400 freestyle relay (3:06.39), to lock in the Cardinals’ team title.

“We’ve been swimming together forever,” Wiegand said at the state meet. My freshman year and my sophomore year, we never thought this was possible. To be standing here right now, it’s a little surreal.”

“There is a sense of pride and admiration for this team and what they’ve been able to accomplish and overcome, and still really deliver,” Coyne said. “We had a goal and we pushed through all that came with it.”

Also considered for the top swimming award were Middleton sophomore Nick Chirafisi and Madison Edgewood junior Colin Senke.

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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.

Related to this story

Madison Edgewood, the two-time defending WIAA Division 2 state champion, is competing outside Dane County. Middleton, the defending Division 1 champion, is participating in small-group practices but hasn't begun competitions amid the COVID-19 pandemic and due to Public Health Madison & Dane County health guidelines. 

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