BARABOO — The sensational prep swimming careers of Platteville/Lancaster seniors Claire Friederick, Sarah Loring and Elisa Bilderback will come to an end later this week, but the Hillmen trio wouldn’t want the bittersweet moment to occur anywhere else.
This Friday night they will be competing amongst the state’s best swimmers, along with teammates junior Maddie Kieler and sophomore Melanie Schaefer, in the WIAA Division 2 state championships at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison.
Friederick earned her third straight trip to state in the 50-yard freestyle at Saturday’s WIAA D2 Baraboo sectional, by winning the event in 24.38 seconds. Friederick also spearheaded Platteville/Lancaster’s state-qualifying 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
The 200 free relay of Friederick, Schaefer, Bilderback and Loring finished second with a time of 1:41.24.
Friederick, Schaefer, Kieler and Loring teamed up to place fifth in the 400 free relay in a time of 3:47.63.
As a team the Hillmen scored in nine events and totaled 122 team points to finish ninth out of 13 teams at the Baraboo sectional.
“It’s difficult to put into words just how fast this meet has become over the years,” said Platteville/Lancaster head coach Tom Caccia. “This sectional is by far the premier meet of the Division 2 sectionals. To come here and swim as well as we did, regardless of team placing, is something of which our communities can be very proud. This team has represented us very well both in talent and actions. I’m very proud of them.”
One event that just missed qualifying for state was Platteville/Lancaster’s 200-yard medley relay team of Friederick, Elissa Behr, Schaefer and Loring, which open the sectional meet with a new school record-breaking performance of 1:56.14. Unfortunately their ninth place finish missed out on an extra qualifier spot by .34 seconds.
Even though he was disappointed in how painfully close his medley relay came to a state berth, Caccia praised the impact the performance had on the rest of the day.
“The medley set the tone for the meet,” said Caccia. “Once we got that fantastic time from that relay, we were off and going. The girls swam another great meet and we had fantastic times all day after the medley relay set the stage.”
Schaefer earned a 10th place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (2:04.93). Kieler placed 11th in the 500 free (5:34.85) and 15th in the 200 free (2:08.60).
Loring finished 11th in the 50 free (26.05) and Bahr placed 16th in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.21).
Friday’s D2 State meet will begin at 6:30 p.m.
First-time jitters should not be a problem for this Hillmen quintet as each member has previous state meet experience.
Loring is also a three-time state qualifier like Friederick. Bilderback swam at state in 2010, while both Kieler and Schaefer competed at last year’s state meet.
Friederick placed 10th at state as a sophomore in the 50 free, then set a new school record of 24.24 seconds to place seventh in the event a year ago. She will be seeded third going into this year’s state meet.
Friederick, Loring, Schaefer and Kieler placed fifth in the 200 free relay last year.
WIAA Division 2 Baraboo Sectional
(from Saturday, Nov. 3 @ Baraboo)
Team scores: 1.DeForest 370, 2.Milton 308, 3.Edgewood 252, 4.McFarland 208, 5.Monona Grove 199, 6.Sauk Prairie 191, 7.River Valley 165, 8.Baraboo 153, 9.Platteville/Lancaster 122, 10.Monroe 76, 10.Portage 76, 12.Jefferson/Cambridge 39, 13.Lodi 20.
Platteville/Lancaster state qualifiers
50 freestyle: 1.Friederick (P/L) 24.38. 200 freestyle relay: 2.Pla/Lan (Friederick, Schaefer, Bilderback, Loring) 1:41.24. 400 freestyle relay: 5.Pla/Lan (Friederick, Schaefer, Kieler, Loring) 3:47.63.
Platteville/Lancaster’s other sectional results
200 medley relay: 9.Pla/Lan (Claire Friederick, Elissa Bahr, Melanie Schaefer, Sarah Loring) 1:56.14. 200 freestyle: 10.Schaefer (P/L) 2:04.93, 15.Maddie Kieler (P/L) 2:08.60, 20.Hannah Schambow (P/L) 2:14.87. 200 individual medley: 21.Bahr (P/L) 2:38.32, 22.Haley Wood (P/L) 2:39.96. 50 freestyle: 11.Loring (P/L) 24.38, 19.Bilderback (P/L) 26.95, 23.Megan Graney (P/L) 27.23. 100 butterfly: 19.Wood (P/L) 1:07.97, 25.Angela Drefcinski (P/L) 1:17.06. 100 freestyle: 17.Graney (P/L) 1:00.49, 18.Bilderback (P/L) 1:00.83. 500 freestyle: 11.Kieler (P/L) 5:34.85, 21.Hannah Schambow (P/L) 5:59.23. 100 backstroke: 16.Bahr (P/L) 1:16.21, 21.Erin Murray (P/L) 1:19.70.