While the entirety of the Sun Prairie girls swimming team did not qualify for the 2021 Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) state finals, a few exemplary individuals and relay teams made the trip out to Waukesha South’s Natatorium for the competition Saturday, Nov. 13.
The best performance of the day for the Cardinals came in the 200 freestyle relay. There, Sun Prairie’s squad of senior Paige Rundahl, junior Brielle Laube, senior Brooke Laube, and sophomore Maeve Sullivan turned in a time of 1:36.84. This earned them 6th place overall and a spot on the podium for the medal ceremony.
Brookfield East’s team of Abby Wanezek, Audrey Olen, Reese Tiltmann, and Lucy Thomas won the event with a time of 1:31.13, followed by the Badger co-op team in 2nd with a time of 1:34.95. Two other Big Eight teams, Madison West (3rd) and Middleton (5th) also claimed podium spots. It was a good showing for the conference.
That same group of girls swam the 400 freestyle relay for Sun Prairie as well at the state finals. This time, the relay order went Brielle Laube, Brooke Laube, Sullivan, and Rundahl as the anchor. The Cardinals did not get the chance to place, however, instead receiving a disqualification.
Rundahl’s day wasn’t just spent swimming relays. She also competed individually in the 100 freestyle. She finished with a time of 53.77, earning 21st place overall.
With the low number of swimmers, Sun Prairie earned all 26 of its team points in the 200 freestyle relay. Still, that was good enough for the Cardinals to finish 19th in the overall team standings.
Brookfield East was the overwhelming Division 1 champion on the day. It finished with 304.5 total team points, well outpacing 2nd-place Arrowhead with 264. Middleton took 3rd with 193 points.
This brings an end to a very successful 2021 campaign for the Sun Prairie girls swimming team. After the team finished 3rd at the 2020-2021 alternate season state finals, expectations were understandably high for this year’s group. While the Cardinals didn’t finish at the top of the podium, it was still a season filled with satisfying results.
The girls took 6th at sectionals this season thanks to continued strong performances in relay races. Even better, the Cardinals claimed 5th at the Big Eight conference meet a week prior to sectionals. With strong performances in matchups throughout the regular season sprinkled in, there is plenty to be pleased with from this season.
The end of the 2021 season brings an end to the class of 2022’s swimming career, including Nora Van de Wiel, Brooke Laube, Paige Rundahl, Abby Krejcha, Hannah Zander, and Emily Winter. These senior swimmers led the team this season and brought great success to the Sun Prairie girls swimming program.
While those seniors will be missed, there is plenty of returning talent for the Cardinals to be excited about next season. Two state finals qualifiers, junior Brielle Laube and sophomore Maeve Sullivan, come back next season and figure to be important parts of the team.
Other promising cardinals like junior Ellie Reeder, junior Lily Breyer, freshman Lilia Gunnink, and freshman Lydia Zenobi all showed great skill and leadership this season.