In the final stretch of the girls age 15-19 100-yard freestyle race on Saturday, Alexandra Moderski turned on the jets.
Moderski passed Kelly Rodriguez to claim the title in the event during the final day of the three-day All-City Swim Meet at Maple Bluff Country Club.
Ridgewood won the annual event for the third straight year and 20th time in the past 22 years. It had 1,826.5 points, 171 more than runner-up Middleton.
“At first, I was feeling good. I was trying to take it out fast,” said Rodriguez, part of the Nakoma Swim Club team. “That last 25, I saw her coming and my legs kind of just hit a brick wall.
“I was giving it my all, but she’s a really, really good swimmer.”
With an outstretched arm, Moderski stopped the clock at :51.31, breaking an All-City record that had stood for eight years. Rodriguez was just behind at :51.61.
It was the first All-City record for Moderski, in only her second year. But the highlight of the duel came afterward, when Rodriguez embraced her close friend, Moderski, in the water with a huge smile on her face.
Rodriguez swims for Madison Edgewood during the high school season and Moderski competes for McFarland, one of Edgewood’s top rivals. At the WIAA Division 2 state meet in 2015, Moderski’s 400-yard freestyle relay team edged Rodriguez’s. At the 2016 meet, the results were flipped.
In each of the past two years, each has won back-to-back WIAA Division 2 state titles: Moderski in the 50 freestyle and Rodriguez in the 200 free.
“We race each other a lot, but these are the events that we don’t really swim together. So it was a fun chance,” Moderski said. “We’re both really close and it’s really fun.”
Rodriguez had nothing but love for her record-breaking friend.
“This sport is amazing and it’s given me friends that I’ll have forever,” Rodriguez said. “Competing against Alex, she’s a really nice girl and she’s really fast, so it helps me out a lot. I think we help each other out in our races.”
Rodriguez got a bit of revenge later in the day. The two faced off in the 200 individual medley and again were in a dead heat for much of the race. In the final 50 meters, Rodriguez pulled away, beating the second-place Moderski by seven seconds and finishing in 2:04.99.
“It stung a little bit when she beat me,” Rodriguez said. “So I was like, ‘All right, got to give it my all in this one.’ ”
The two went head-to-head one more time in the second-to-last race of the meet. In the 200 freestyle relay, Monona had a one-second advantage on Nakoma heading into the final leg. Moderski jumped into the pool ahead of Rodriguez and held her off, finishing her leg in :23.29. Rodriguez finished in :23.54. The two posted the fastest two split times in the relay.
But while Moderski won this chapter in the rivalry, it didn’t matter much to her in the end.
“It was really cool,” she said. “But I was just glad that I got to swim against people that I know.”
Samuel Wolf of Middleton set an All-City record in the boys age 9-10 50 free, finishing in :27.80. He set a second record, breaking the one he set Friday, with a time of 1:10.59 in the 100 individual medley. Wolf was also part of two record-breaking relay teams — the 200 medley and 200 free.
Alexander Charles from Middleton won the boys age 9-10 50 backstroke with a record-breaking time of :33.81. He also was a member of Middleton’s two relay teams, along with Wolf. Charles also won the 50 butterfly.
Gabriela Pierobon Mays of Hawks Landing broke her own record in the girls 13-14 100 individual medley. She touched the wall in :58.20, beating her mark by two seconds. She set a record in the 50 butterfly (:25.57). Pierobon Mays also was part of two record relays (200 medley and 200 free).
In the girls age 15-19 100 backstroke, Katrina Marty from Seminole broke the record she set Thursday with a :56.78 mark. Marty also helped two relay teams set records: the 200 medley and 200 free.
Alexander Moen from Maple Bluff broke his own record in the 13-14 100-yard IM, finishing in :55.02. He also set the record in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.68).
Ben McDade from Monona set a record in the boys 15-19 200 individual medley (1:52.96) and helped Monona set the record in the 200 free relay (1:26.18). Eric Storms was also a part of that relay and set the All-City record in the 100 backstroke (:50.59).