Ella Graf

Ella Graf swims in the backstroke portion of Waunakee’s 200 medley relay race against Sauk Prairie. Graf and her teammates — Makenzie Wallace, Abi Schmeiser and Grace Blitz — won the race in 1:55.89 as the Warriors defeated Sauk Prairie 106 to 64.

Conference has finally arrived.

After rolling through their Badger North Conference dual meets, the Waunakee girls’ swim team now faces one final hurdle to claiming their fifth straight conference title.

“It always comes down to the end of the season,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Heather Frank. “When we get to conference, that’s the end to the means. I don’t think you can be comfortable going into it.”

Before competing in this upcoming Saturday’s Badger North Conference Meet, however, Waunakee had one final conference dual to get through against Sauk Prairie.

Waunakee 106,

Sauk Prairie 64

Tuesday’s meet had a rarity: eight first-place individual finishers. Ella Graf and Dylan Ryniak tied for first place in the 50 freestyle, with each swimmer touching the wall in a time of 27.23.

Five more Warrior swimmers – led by Abi Schmeiser in the 100 butterfly (59.49) and 100 backstroke (1:01.21) – claimed first-place finishes in individual races to lead Waunakee to victory.

Other winners included Kajsa Rosenkvist in the 200 freestyle (2:03.70), Alaina Sautebin in the 200 individual medley (2:22.31), Grace Blitz in the 100 freestyle (56.88) and Makenzie Wallace in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.94).

The Warriors swept the 100 butterfly, with Ryniak and Sautebin taking second and third behind Schmieser in times of 1:04.96 and 1:07.14, respectively.

Though Sauk Prairie managed to steal a win in the 500 freestyle, Waunakee took 10 of the 11 races on the night, including all three relays.

Graf, Wallace, Schmeiser and Blitz took the meet-opening 200 medley relay in 1:55.89, while the team of Blitz, Rosenkvist, Wallace and Schmeiser won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.05. In the final race of the night, the group of Rosenkvist, Ryniak, Sautebin and Blitz claimed victory in the 400 freestyle relay, winning with a final time of 3:56.37.

Waunakee’s team can now focus on the Badger North Conference and JV Conference meets. JV Conference took place Tuesday night, the results of which were not available for this week’s edition.

“Now it’s just implementing all the different ends to the means,” said Frank. “We have a few people that are going to be at both meets, so that’s tricky… We’re trying to get everybody on the same page and for it to be a positive end to the season, no matter where it is you’re ending up.”

Saturday’s conference meet is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in Baraboo.

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