Riding the wave of superior depth, victories in two relays and DeeDee Walker’s improbable triumph from the first heat in the 500-yard freestyle, Madison Edgewood secured its fourth consecutive WIAA Division 2 state girls swimming and diving championship Friday night.
The individual show stopper, meanwhile, was Alexandra Moderski. The McFarland senior closed her prep career by breaking her own 2015 state records in the 50 and 100 freestyle events while winning the 50 free for the fourth time at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.
“Coming in, I really wanted those records,” Moderski said. “I’ve had them since freshman year. So, now it’s my senior year and I thought, `This is my last chance that I could get them.’’’
Top-ranked Edgewood piled up 328.50 points, earning a comfortable victory over runner-up and second-ranked McFarland, which had 209.
“They did a really good job,” Edgewood coach Emily Schwabe said of the Crusaders. “We’ve won a different way every year. This year, we had less first places. … There were a lot of girls playing their part and pulling together. We had a lot of key depth. It feels really good. It’s pretty surreal.”
Walker, a junior who was starting in the first heat after slowed by the flu at last week’s sectionals, won the 500 freestyle in 5 minutes, 4.88 seconds. She nervously watched the second heat, won by Menomonie senior Mille Lausen in 5:07.84, good for second.
“It was crazy,” Walker said. “I didn’t know what to expect. When the girl who got second was swimming her last 50, I was just looking at the clock and looking at her. I definitely was screaming at the top of my lungs when I saw I won.”
“That definitely has only happened a couple times,” Schwabe said of Walker posting the winning time in the first heat. “She came down with the flu at sectionals, so she had a lot of fight here to reverse that and get back to the top spot.”
Walker also was part of the Crusaders’ victorious 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays. The team of junior Maeve O’Driscoll, freshman Abby Reid, senior Issy Petersen and Walker won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:36.62.
Edgewood won that relay for the fourth consecutive year and the 400 freestyle relay for the third consecutive time. Senior Kaitlyn Barth, freshman Anna teDuits, Reid and Walker were first in 3:30.13, ahead of Moderski and runner-up McFarland (3:32.92).
In all, there were 10 winners from the area (and 11 from the region) in the 12 events.
University of Missouri commit Moderski became the 17th girl to win the same event four times, winning the 50 freestyle in 22.77 seconds, shattering the Division 2 state mark of :22.84 she set as a freshman. Butler University commit Petersen was second in :24.05 and Jefferson/Cambridge senior Megan Duffy (:24.12) finished fourth.
Moderski later claimed the 100 freestyle in :49.68, breaking the mark of :50.26 she set as a freshman. It was her third first place in the event, after winning in 2015 and 2017 and finishing as runner-up in 2016.
“I felt really good,” Moderski said. “It’s been a long time since I felt that good.”
Petersen (:52.29) was second in the 100 freestyle, Stoughton sophomore Sofia Bormett (:52.36) placed third and Fort Atkinson senior Mariah Marowsky (:52.82) finished fourth, as area girls claimed the top seven spots.
McFarland’s team of freshman Mara Freeman, junior Ella Weaver, junior Emily Landwehr and Moderski won the 200 medley relay in 1:45.78, finishing ahead of runner-up Edgewood (1:47.23) and third-place Baraboo (1:49.20).
Freeman (:56.50) won the 100 backstroke, ahead of runner-up teDuits (:57.11) and Mekenzie Hammer (:57.88), a sophomore from Monroe/New Glarus.
Hammer was the 200 individual medley champion in 2:08.37.
Bormett (1:53.30) claimed the 200 freestyle title — the first state swim title for Stoughton. She edged runner-up Walker (1:53.31), who swam in lane eight, and top-seeded Kylie Theiler (1:53.79) of Tomahawk.
Monona Grove sophomore Trinity McNall, after finishing third a year ago, won the diving title with a personal-best 468.80 points. Top-seeded Bella Smith of Hales Corners Whitnall finished second (452.75).
“Bella was ahead of me (after) sectionals, so I was a little doubtful,” third-seeded McNall said. “I came in wanting to do my best. … It’s pretty cool (to win). It feels really good.”
McNall cast aside nervousness and nailed her dives — including her second dive, a front 2½ that had given her trouble — and she surpassed her personal-high 432.55 at last week’s sectional.
Whitewater sophomore Ella Houwers (1:05.34) was the 100 breaststroke winner, finishing ahead of Baraboo teammates Taylor Bradley (1:06.63) and Ella Lohr (1:07.34).
Nicole Beckman (:56.67), a senior from Whitnall, earned first in the 100 butterfly, just ahead of runner-up Barth (:56.94), who’s committed to Nebraska. Senior Kirby Tock (:58.56) was fourth for fifth-place Baraboo.