Earning a trip to the girls state swimming tournament is a major accomplishment as the qualifiers see their hard work throughout the season pay off with an opportunity to compete against the best athletes in Wisconsin.
The same could be said of the Monona Grove High School girls swimming 200-yard freestyle relay team, which fought its way toward the Nov. 17 WIAA Division 1 state title round at the UW-Madison Natatorium.
The quartet of seniors Mary O’Malley and Liv Seymour, freshman Morgan Heilman and junior Brianna Back didn’t return home with a medal but saw some improvement in its time.
The quartet ended in 16th place with a time of 1:40.43, 1.5 seconds faster than its time in the Beloit Memorial sectional the week before.
O’Malley’s time of 25.55 was only a second behind eventual winner Sun Prairie after the first 50 yards. Seymour completed her part of the race in 26.03 before Heilman had MG’s fastest swim of the evening in 24.43. Back ran the final leg in 24.42.
Sun Prairie’s winning time was 1:35.20, more than five seconds quicker than the Silver Eagles. Waukesha South/Mukwonago was second, and Arrowhead took third.
The Silver Eagles will lose some valuable seniors to graduation including O’Malley, Seymour, Jenna Russell, Kate Studt, Tara Pysher, Hanna Doll, Sarah Townsend, Olivia Veserat, Belle Foley and Ari Smith.
Yet, many talented underclassmen will return to head coach Kelly Pastika’s team in 2020 including Heilman, who took fourth in the 200-individual medley and 100-backstroke at the Badger South Conference meet.
Others who saw some action in varsity races include freshmen Gabby Holler and Emma Lippiatt, juniors Back and Chloe Quall, and sophomore Shannon McAllister.