Rhinelander Captures Its First Girls Swim & Dive Title; Francis Wins Four Events

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Rhinelander Captures Its First Girls Swim & Dive Title; Francis Wins Four Events

Friday, November 13, 2020

Rhinelander Captures Its First Girls Swim & Dive Title; Francis Wins Four Events

WAUKESHA, Wis. – Rhinelander won the team championship, and Malia Francis won four events to highlight the 2020 State Division 2 Girls Swimming & Diving Championships at the Waukesha South High School Natatorium Friday.

The Hodags won their first State title in program history by capturing the crown with 255 points. Shorewood was second with 228 points, and Greendale was third with 202 points.

Malia Francis led Rhinelander by winning two individual events and contributing in two victorious relays. She won the 100-yard butterfly for the second consecutive season, completing the race in a time of  55.96, which ranks as the fifth fastest Division 2 time in State meet history. She also swam to her second straight title in the 100 backstroke with a time of a 55.13, which is the fourth fastest time recorded in Division 2 State meet history. Francis also teamed with Noelle St. Pierre, Abi Winnicki and Karis Francis to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:38.03, and with Genna Fugle, Abi Winnicki, Makenna Winnicki to capture the 400 freestyle crown in a time of 3:35.80.

Ella Houwers of Whitewater was a two-time champion in the meet. She won her third straight championship in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.27. In addition to the three championships, she was runner-up as a freshman in 2017. She also won the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:06.90 after finishing runner-up last year and third in 2018.

Bella Smith of Whitnall won the diving title for the second year in a row, posting a score of 519.15, which ranks second best in Division 2 State meet history. She also placed second in 2018 and fourth in 2017.

The individual freestyle events were won by four different swimmers. Faith Forsberg of Rice Lake won the 50 freestyle in a time of 24.13 after placing fifth last year and ninth in 2018. She becomes the first Warriors girls swimmer to win a State girls swimming title. Katarina Stanic of Greendale won the 100 freestyle with a time of 52.95, and teammate Jocelyn Zgola won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52.27 after finishing seventh last year and fourth in 2018.

Casey Stephens of Whitefish Bay turned in the fastest time in the 500 freestyle at 5:05.77 to win the gold medal after placing sixth last season.

The Shorewood 200 medley relay team of Elise Jacobs, Eva McNally, Amie Barrow and Amelia Kuennen won the event with a time of 1:47.45, which is the eighth fastest time recorded in a Division 2 State meet.

The State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships continue Saturday with the Division 1 competition. The preliminary round in diving begins at 10 a.m. with swimming events to begin at 2:30 p.m.


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