Next up for the Middleton girls swimming team is a two-week quest for a third consecutive WIAA Division 1 state championship.
On Saturday, though, the Cardinals were all about winning the Big Eight Conference — and wrapping up a perfect regular season.
Coach Lauren Cabalka's team scored 546.5 points to win the Big Eight meet, finishing 98.5 points ahead of runner-up Sun Prairie. Madison West took third and Madison Memorial fourth.
Led by senior Makenna Licking and junior Gabriela Pierobon Mays, the Cardinals took first place in two of the three relays and added a runner-up finish behind Sun Prairie in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
To open the swimming competition, Pierobon Mays, Alexandra Anagnostopoulus, sophomore Ally Silvestri and junior Berkley Smith combined to win the 200 medley relay in 1 minute, 47.83 seconds. Licking, senior Cora Mack, senior Hannah Aegerter and Pierobon Mays closed the meet by breaking the Big Eight meet record in the 400 freestyle relay (3:31.59).
In between, Licking won the 200 freestyle (1:55.35) and the 500 free (5:11.22), giving the Cardinals their only individual victories. But Middleton added six second-place finishes and three third places to rack up the points.
Sun Prairie sophomore Sophie Fiske won the 50 freestyle (:23.72) by an impressive margin of 0.9 seconds over runner-up Zaria Terry of Madison La Follette (:24.62). Fiske also won the 100 freestyle in :52.11, scoring a winning margin of 1.89 seconds over runner-up Cora Mack of Middleton.
Fiske also anchored the Cardinals' winning 200 medley relay, joining junior Bree Moericke, senior Emily Anderson and junior Hannah Marshall to finish in 1:38.33.
Verona/Mount Horeb senior Grace Bennin shattered the Big Eight Conference meet and Middleton pool records in the 100 breaststroke with a winning time of 1:04.01, finishing 1.12 seconds ahead of her own previous record, set last year. Bennin also won the 200 individual medley in 2:05.45.
For Madison West, senior Katrina Marty won the 100 butterfly (:57.57), sophomore Natalie Schick won the 100 backstroke (:58.01) and freshman Rian Wells won Friday's diving competition with 322.10 points.
Southern Lakes Conference
The Jefferson/Cambridge girls scored a third-place finish with 273 points in the nine-team meet at Delavan-Darien, behind champion Lake Geneva Badger (445) and Burlington (405).
Edgerton placed sixth with 229 points.
Jefferson/Cambridge’s 200-yard medley relay (sophomore Josie Peterson and seniors Megan Duffy, Olivia Gallardo and Hallie Peterson), won with a time of 1 minute, 55.36 seconds.
Jefferson/Cambridge also took first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:43.08), swum by Josie Peterson, Halle Peterson, Sophie Peterson and Duffy.