Rhinelander won the Division 2 team title at the 2023 State Girls Swimming &?Diving Championships at the Waukesha South High School Natatorium.
The Hodags cruised to the title with 268 points and were crowned champions in six of the 12 events in the meet. It's the program's second State championship. Whitefish Bay finished second with 187 points. Edgewood, the defending eight-time champion–including the alternate season in 2020-21–placed third with 178 points.
Karis Francis of Rhinelander won a pair of individual events and was a member of two winning relays. She won the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:03.99, and she won the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.05. She didn’t compete in the breaststroke or butterfly at last year’s State Meet, but she finished ninth and 11th in those events, respectively, in 2021. Her sister, freshman Celia Francis, made an impactful first impression at State, winning the 200 individual medley in a time of 2:09.14.
The Hodags swept the three relay events. The Francis sisters were members of both the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. They won gold in the 200 medley with teammates Ellyse Younker and Lily Thorsen in a time of 1:45. 63. That is the fourth-fastest Division 2 time recorded in the history of the meet. They teamed up with Vivian Lamers and Abi Winnicki to cruise to the title in the 400 freestyle in a time of 3:30.61. The Hodags also won the 200 freestyle relay with the quartet of Lamers, Millie Gruett, Younker and Winnicki with a time of 1:38.18.
Sienna Nitzke of Ashwaubenon swam to the titles in both the 100 and 200 freestyles with times of 50.68 and 1:48.98, respectively. She finished runner-up in the 100 and third in the 200 last season.
Anne Dickinson of Whitefish Bay improved on her runner-up finish in the 50 freestyle last year by winning the gold medal this season. She sprinted to title with a time of 23.82. In the distance freestyle, Erin Schuch of Ashwaubenon captured the championship. She completed the 500-yard race in 5:03.04 after placing fourth a year ago.
Savannah Acker of Sauk Prairie won the 100 backstroke with a time of 55.80 following last year’s runner-up finish and a 10th-place standing in 2021.
Rianna Dobbie of Whitnall was the champion in the diving competition after placing fourth last year and seventh in 2021. She compiled a score of 476.40.
The State Girls Swimming &?Diving Championships continue Saturday with the Division 1 competition. The preliminary round in diving begins at 9:30 a.m. with swimming events to begin at 2:30 p.m.
Photo by the WIAA.