Members of the Division 1 WIAA State Champion Boys Swim Team received another honor and learned they had another fan on Tuesday, March 2.
It happened during the Sun Prairie City Council meeting, when the team received a proclamation from Mayor Paul Esser and learned that District 1 Alder Steve Stocker stood out along West Main Street and filmed their arrival into town after they won the championship.
“And when you won, a police escort to downtown was planned. I knew I had to be down there to cheer you on. So if you recall seeing this guy standing in front of the Bank of Sun Prairie cheering for you, as you came through town — that was me,” Stocker said. “And I want to share with you from my perspective, what this looked like.”
The grainy video shows the team’s arrival back into Sun Prairie along Main Street, complete with a Sun Prairie Fire and Sun Prairie Police department escort of their Kobussen Bus.
Earlier during the Sun Prairie City Council meeting, Stocker noted the historic occasion of having a champion swim team.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but since Sun Prairie was first named in 1837, never in our history, have we had the honor of a state champion boys swim team,” Stocker said. “You are the first and it’s all because of your spirit and competitiveness, which mirrors what built the city you grew up in.
“Once again, that hard work and dedication really pays off,” Stocker said. “And we’re here tonight to recognize you and also congratulate you. I do want to take a moment, however, to say a few words to your parents. Parents, I’m certain that you have made many sacrifices to get your swimmers to where they are — instilling a strong work ethic while giving up personal sacrifices on your own, investing in swim lessons, and most likely driving to countless swimming meets.”
The historic nature of the boys swim team championship was not lost on head coach Joel Coyne, who thanked his assistant coaches, the team and the city for the honor.
The proclamation notes the boys swim team won the WIAA Division 1 Middleton Sectionals qualifying all 18 individual swims and all 3 relays to state; and broke seven team records in the 200 IM, 50 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 100 Back, and 400 Free Relay.
Ben Wiegand took 1st in the 100 Free and 2nd in the 50 Free earning All-American recognition. The boys swim team 200 Free Relay of Ethan Braatz, Avery Lodahl, JP Anhalt, and Ben Wiegand took 1st place, setting a new State record and earning All-American recognition.
The team scored 232.5 points and captured the team title at the WIAA Division 1 State meet for the first time in the boys swim team program history.
Coyne recalled that 10 years ago, the boys didn’t even have their own program until Sun Prairie High School and its pool were completed.
“And when you look around not just the boys program, but the swim community in Sun Prairie, it is growing stronger. And, I think this is like a testament to all of that — the efforts that went on leading up to this moment that really made a difference,” Coyne said.
Referring to the season as an “extraordinary” one, Coyne remembered having to split the pool into four cohorts to keep spacing during practices, not being able to practice relays (“something that we later set a state record in,” he said), and not having a real competitor other than other Sun Prairie swimmers until two weeks before the state meet.
“And so you know, a lot of things went into this, but a lot of the credit has to go to the guys,” Coyne said. “There is so much that leads up into the season that if those pieces aren’t in place, the season can really kind of go in any number of different directions. So the work, the bond, the drive to do what they needed to and really their goals set made the difference, so that even with all of the delays and all of the changes that happened, they were still able to make the best of the season.”
The meeting also featured members of the swim team — each signing in to the Zoom meeting as “Joel Coyne” which Coyne said was a little strange for him — going over their times and wowing the alders (watch the meeting on ksun.tv in the Videos section under the Sun Prairie City Council section).
Proclamation recognizes ‘Be Active Wisconsin’
The Sun Prairie Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department’s Chad Shelton virtually accepted a proclamation honoring Sun Prairie’s participation in the Be Active Wisconsin Community Fitness Challenge, scheduled for March 1 -31.
The proclamation encourages residents to participate in the challenge, which requires participants to log their minutes. Shelton said Sun Prairie will compete with residents in other communities participating in the challenge. Participants may register online in the SPPRF portion of the city’s website at cityofsunprairie.com with each participant receiving a t-shirt. The program costs $10.
One idea floated was a challenge between the alders and the boys swim team, but the idea — as humorous as it was — was quickly abandoned by most of the council because of the level of fitness of the swim team.
Revenues exceed expenses for 2020
Alders approved the 2020 Year-End Operating Balance, which showed revenues exceeded expenditures by $1,303,468 — primarily due to the sale of the Schneider property (where the Pumpkin Patch Retail Center is being developed along Thompson Road) as well as the expenditure controls put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a report to the council, the unassigned fund balance amount decreased by $865,659 for 2020 due to changes in the non-spendable, restricted, and assigned fund balances. The net change to the unassigned fund balance is an increase of $437,809. Non-spendable fund balance includes amounts that the General Fund has advanced to city Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Districts. The total increase in the advances is $558,158.
Karaoke coming soon?
Stocker said he has developed a few ideas to try to get the community as involved as it did during the recent Groundhog Day Scavenger Hunt, when families and other community members were able to safely hunt in city open spaces for items in the hunt.
The first of the ideas is Community Karaoke. Working with the Sun Prairie Media Center, Stocker plans to host a one-hour Zoom meeting, where families will be encouraged to sing along with the first portion, and individuals will be encouraged (or recruited) to sing along with songs in the second half of the program.
A second idea is a Sun Prairie History Scavenger Hunt. Working with the Sun Prairie Historical Museum, Stocker intends to send scavenger hunters around Sun Prairie to learn 10 different pieces of Sun Prairie history before they complete the hunt.
Stocker encouraged more family-friendly ideas from the alders and the community and looks forward to sharing more of those ideas in the near future.