A wide smile crossed Sophie Fiske’s face.
The Sun Prairie junior waved from the top podium perch, savoring her 50-yard freestyle victory at Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 girls swimming and diving meet.
Fiske then blew a kiss in the direction of family and friends — including to junior Molly Schulz, an injured teammate who served as a team manager — in the balcony at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.
It was the first of Fiske’s four visits to the top of the awards stand as she defended her individual titles in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and was the anchor of Sun Prairie’s victorious 200 and 400 free relays.
Fiske, who said after the 50th annual meet that she has orally committed to UW for swimming, led the Cardinals to the area’s highest finish in a tight team competition.
Brookfield East, with two individual titles and a record-setting relay victory, compiled 243 points and won its first Division 1 championship, topping runner-up Hartland Arrowhead (220). Sun Prairie was third with 212.50 points, matching its highest state finish established last year. Muskego (192) was fourth.
“I think no matter what place we got, I’m so excited,” Fiske said. “We worked so hard all season. Anything we accomplish is just amazing to do it with this team. I love them so much.”
Sun Prairie enjoyed a banner year, winning the Big Eight Conference meet and sectional titles for the first time while soaring to a No. 1 state ranking in the coaches’ poll.
“It’s been a monumental season for us,” said Cardinals senior Bree Moericke, part of the winning 400 free relay. “We’ve never scored this high at state. We’ve never won so many invitationals as we did all season. It’s awesome. I’d say it’s our best season in history.”
Sun Prairie 19th-year coach Nancy Harms said the Cardinals were on a mission, displaying maturity and using their experience to their benefit.
“I think it was a great showing,” Harms said. “Of course, they wanted to move up a little more. But you have to have perspective. We thought it was pretty exciting to get third last year. But, obviously, they expected more this year. So, the third-place finish feels different than last year. But, still, to be top three in state is pretty amazing, and then to have four first places.”
Brookfield East ended Middleton’s three-year reign as state champion. Middleton was sixth with 143 points.
“Most of the girls on our state team had not been here before,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We relied a lot on our seniors and the girls who have been here before to walk them through this and tell them what it was going to be like, and guide them and lead them through this meet. And they did a phenomenal job.”
Fiske repeated in the 50 free, finishing first in a personal-best 22.93 seconds, just ahead of Brookfield East sophomore Abby Wanezek (:23.11) and Cedarburg senior Maya Novacek (:23.49). Middleton senior Gabriela Pierobon Mays was fourth (:23.80).
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Fiske's time was the second-best all-time mark.
“Sophie has been great; she just gets better,” Harms said. “And the reason she does so well is she is coachable and she keeps it in perspective.”
Fiske later defended her title in the 100 free, claiming first in a personal-best :49.82.
That time was third-best all time.
“It’s been so much fun this whole season,” Fiske said. “I’ve been working so hard with the rest of the team. Those first places are all for them. It just feels amazing. I felt better than past seasons (at state). I think I have more experience and I was better prepared for everything.”
Sun Prairie sophomore Paige Rundahl, senior Hannah Marshall, junior Grace Sala and Fiske combined to win the 200 free relay in 1:35.20. Middleton was fourth (1:36.59) and Madison Memorial fifth (1:37.52).
Sun Prairie closed the meet by winning the 400 free relay for the second consecutive year. Moericke, Sala, junior Janelle Schulz and Fiske were first in 3:25.86. Middleton was fifth (3:30.51).
“She really gets up for relays,” Harms said about Fiske. “She is in it for the team. It energizes her.”
Neenah senior Av Osero won the diving competition for the fourth consecutive year. Osero, who totaled 498.15 points, became the third diver to win four state championships.
Brookfield East broke the longest existing state record, winning the 200 medley relay in 1:42.54. The previous mark of 1:42.71 had been held by Arrowhead since 2005. Sun Prairie finished third (1:45.84) and Middleton fifth (1:46.94).
Brookfield East pulled away for the title late in the meet with a 1-2 finish from junior Reilly Tiltmann and Wanezek in the 100 backstroke and a victory from freshman Lucy Thomas (1:02.33) in the 100 breaststroke.
Tiltmann defended her backstroke crown, winning in :52.88. Vanderbilt commit Pierobon Mays (:54.74) and Milton senior Danielle Cramer (:55.57) were third and fifth, respectively — each swimming in the second of three heats.
Bay Port senior Emma Lasecki earned first in the 200 individual medley (2:00.66) and the 100 butterfly (:54.21). Minnesota commit Cramer was fourth (:55.53) in the butterfly.
Arrowhead junior Sydney Stoll won the 500 freestyle (4:54.85). Madison Memorial junior Jackie House was fourth (5:01.56).
Waukesha South/Mukwonago junior Abby Carlson was the 200 freestyle winner in 1:49.21.