After a one-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Madison All-City Swimming Championships returned and Ridgewood captured the team title for the second straight season and fifth time in the past six years.

Verona Area High School senior Max McCartney, swimming for Ridgewood, was excited to be back in the pool. The All-City meet featured more than 1,800 swimmers during the week at six different sites culminating in the championships on Saturday, July 31, at Seminole Pool in Fitchburg.

“It was really fun to get back in that atmosphere and compete with my friends again in the pool,” McCartney said. “Winning was the cherry on the top.”

Ridgewood coach Bill Wuerger, who also is the coach for the Verona Area/Mount Horeb girls and boys swim teams, said the swimmers were appreciative to be back in the pool after the All-City meet was canceled last year.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect this season,” Wuerger said. “We had more new swimmers on the team this summer than we’ve ever had, and many swimmers did not swim last summer. The team improved dramatically from the beginning of the season. It was fun to watch them swim as well as they did.”

McCartney finished second in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 56.87 seconds, 0.64 seconds behind Nakoma’s Nicholas Chiratisi. He added a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke (1:08.44).

“I was definitely surprised to see the times I put up,” McCartney said. “I had high hopes but I wasn’t expecting much.”

McCartney excels at the 200 and 500 free during the high school season for Verona Area/Mount Horeb.

McCartney said he’s really happy with how he performed in the 100 back because it’s an event he hasn’t raced in for a long time.

He trains with the Badger Aquatics Club and Ridgewood during the summer.

“It’s fun to swim with different kids I wouldn’t get to during the high school season. You still get good workouts in.”

Avery Blas, 17, a teammate of McCartney’s during the winter boys swimming season for Verona Area/Mount Horeb, swam for the Seminole Swim team, and finished third in the 200 individual medley (2:23.05) and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.07).

The lone title from local swimmers in the 15-18 age group came from Colin Senke of Nakoma, an Edgewood senior, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.79. Senke teamed with Nicholas Chirafisi, Jaxson VandenBrook and Davis Petersen to take second in the 200 medley relay (1:57.59). The same quartet for Nakoma took second in the 200 free relay (1:46.43). Senke also is the returning WIAA Division 2 state champion in the 100 butterfly for the Crusaders.

“I’m friends with a lot of those guys on Nakoma and every year you can count on Nakoma to put together a strong team,” McCartney said.

Ridgewood’s 200 medley relay team of Jack Barden, McCartney, Jesse Drake and Jackson Plautz placed fourth (1:59.78). Drake added a fourth-place finish in the 200 IM (2:25.18). The same quartet for Ridgewood placed fourth in the 200 free relay (1:46.43).

In the boys 13-14 year-old division, Seminole’s Grayson Neumann won the 100 breaststroke (1:18.28).

Ridgewood’s Max Carter finished second in the 100 IM (1:10.13) and second in the 100 butterfly (30.92). Teammate Max Drake took third in the 100 back (1:10.56) and tied Parkcrest’s Alex Heinrich for third in the 100 fly (31.25).

“Max is a talented swimmer,” Ridgewood coach Bill Wuerger said. “He was at the bottom of his age group this year (13) competing against taller, stronger 14-year olds, but he definitely held his own. Max has been working very hard since the end of the high school season. He is getting physically stronger, which helps him in sprint freestyle events.”

Ben Cutler-Heiderscheit finished third in the 100 IM (1:12.53) and placed fourth in the 100 free (1:04.38). Ridgewood’s Max Jones took third in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.91) and placed fourth in the 100 IM (1:14.10).

Seminole’s Cole Johnson added a third-place finish in the 100 free (1:02.34).

Seminole’s Gavin Vondermann, 12, won two championships in the boys 11-12 age group. He won the 50 free (31.90) and the 50 fly (34.80). Teammate Max Garbacz won the 100 IM (1:17.43) and teammate Dylan Snelling took third in the 50- fly (37.16).

Seminole’s Parker Brystol finished second in the 50 breaststroke (41.12) and teammate Caden Jonjak took third in the same 50 fly (33.02). Seminole’s Levi Johnson took third in the 50 back (38.77) and fourth in the 50 fly (38.91). Teammate Max Garbacz finished third in the 50 breaststroke (41.46).

Henry Prahl of Hawks Landing won two titles in the boys 9-10 age group. Prahl won the 50 fly (38.62) and the 50 free (35.26).

Ridgewood’s Brecken Curran, 10, also won two individual championships, winning the 100 IM (1:25.12) and the 50 breaststroke (46.47). Teammate Max Boldyner, 10, finished second in the 50 back (45.33) and placed fourth in the 50 fly (48.32). Anthony Patrick-Stern, 9, added a fourth-place finish in the 50 back (49.62). Max Splitter took fourth in the 50 free (38.34).

In the 8 and younger division, Ridgewood’s Caleb Goodavish captured titles in the 25 free (17.69) and 200 IM (1:43.24). Jack Martinelli won the 25 back (23.40) and took third in the 25 fly (22.24) for Ridgewood.

Will Dolphin of Hawks Landing won the 25 breaststroke (24.23). Ridgewood’s Finn Cutler-Heiderscheit finished third in the 25 back (25.22) and Ridgewood’s Jimmy Jensen placed fourth in the 25 fly (22.37).

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