PORTAGE — The smallest mistakes can come back to bite you in swimming.
The Sauk Prairie girls swim team didn’t commit too many on Sept. 26 as the Eagles soared to a 122-48 win over Portage in a Badger North Conference dual meet at Rusch Elementary in Portage.
“We played with the lineup tonight and had some girls swim some different things, events I knew they would do well in, we just don’t get to see them swim them all the time,” Sauk Prairie coach Julie Goodman said. “It was really nice to take some risks, swim some new events tonight and have some success.”
Sauk Prairie out strong, winning the opening 200 meter medley relay, despite being in jeopardy early on as the Eagles fell behind after the backstroke leg.
Mariah Chao had other ideas however, as the senior kicked things into high gear during the breaststroke leg, setting the table for senior Alexa Lins and junior Caitlin Davis. The pair came through and helped Sauk Prairie start off with win in a time of 2 minutes, 16.04 seconds.
“We like to try to start our meets off strong and the medley relay, personally, is one of my favorite things to put together as a coach and our girls like to swim it,” Goodman said. “We get pumped up and ready for the medley relay and try to keep it going from there.”
The Eagles did just that, winning the next three events, including sweeps in the 200 meter freestyle and individual medley, to build a comfortable 46-16 lead at the break. Senior Sydney Rall won the 200 freestyle in 2:28.68, while senior Kaitlyn Miller won the 200 individual medley (2:50.47) and Chao won the 50 freestyle (29.60).
Sauk Prairie continued to roll coming out of the intermission, sweeping the 100 butterfly behind junior Grace Williams, (1:17.00), senior Ally Dunnum (1:20.05) and freshman Grace Orr (1:21.67) for a 59-19 advantage.
Eventually the Warriors got some momentum going as freshman Brooklyn Miller won the 100 backstroke in 1:14.75 but it was the only win for Portage. Chao picked up her second win of the night by taking the 100 freestyle (1:04.95), just 0.14 seconds ahead of Miller, sophomore Cora Dunnum won the 400 freestyle (5:25.57) and Brickl took first in the 100 breaststroke (1:25.71).
“She just looked really strong tonight in everything she swam and it’s nice to see her swimming as well as she is in the middle of the season,” Goodman said on Chao.
Along with Chao, the second-year coach was pleased with how the entire team performed, especially having dealt with seeming outside of the pool earlier that day. According to Goodman, one of the swimmer’s family members, a close friend to the community and most of the team, suddenly passed away Tuesday.
“We found out at about 1:30 today. Some of them were really upset,” said Goodman, who noted three girls were especially shaken. “They talked and decided they wanted to swim and I’m so proud that all of them came into warm-ups with smiles on their faces, were supporting each other and I saw nothing but smiles and love for them tonight. They know that we’re a family and there for each other, and I was really proud to see that.”
At the midway point in the season, Goodman said that the Eagles are currently maxing out in the weight room. Along with that, the Eagles are experiencing plenty of fatigue and Goodman wants her group to keep on fighting through.
“We’re working hard in the pool and in the weight room so they’re going to be sore, tired and what’s important to me is that they just concentrate on doing all the little things right,” she said. “If they can do it now when they’re sore, when we start to rest and taper, everything’s going to come together and they’re going to have the energy behind them to swim really fast.”
SAUK PRAIRIE 122, PORTAGE 48
200 meter medley relay — 1, Sauk Prairie (Breunig, Chao, Williams, Miller), 2:16.04. 200 freestyle — 1, Rall, SP, 2:28.68. 200 individual medley — 1, Miller, SP, 2:50.47. 50 freestyle — 1, Chao, SP, :29.60. 100 butterfly — 1, Williams, SP, 1:17.00. 100 freestyle — 1, Chao, SP, 1:04.95. 400 freestyle — 1, C. Dunnum, SP, 5:25.57. 200 freestyle relay — 1, Sauk Prairie (G. Brickl, Drager, McCumber, Rall), 2:08.38. 100 backstroke — 1, Miller, Po, 1:14.75. 100 breaststroke — 1, G. Brickl, SP, 1:25.71. 400 freestyle relay — 1, Sauk Prairie (Williams, C. Dunnum, Breunig, Chao), 4:39.49. At Portage.