Sun Prairie swim team celebrates 50 years

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) - The Sun Prairie Piranhas are celebrating its 50th season, and the anniversary is personal for one family.

For a milestone like Saturday’s, the team is diving into a pool of memories.

“The one that sticks with me most is at my first meet when I felt like I almost drowned,” high school senior Cole Faust said. He has been a Piranha for ten years. “But my mom got an 18 year old, a family friend, to come talk to me and convince me to continue swimming. I’m glad that they did.”

Head Coach Konrad Plomedahl said 50 years ago, the team started with just a handful of swimmers.

“As far as I know the team started as a way of people [coming] together in their offseason to just stay in shape. [It was] just a group of friends that wanted to get in the water and swim,” he said.

Since its creation in 1971, the team has changed names (from the Dolphins, according to a former coach) and moved pools to the Sun Prairie Family Aquatic Center. The Piranhas has also grown to include more than 240 swimmers, Plomedahl said.

Stephanie Faust witnessed much of that history. A former coach and a swimmer, Faust is also Cole’s mother. All of Stephanie’s three kids swam with the Piranhas.

“We’d get up early,” Stephanie said, reflecting on her time as a young swimmer. “We’d ride our bikes knowing that all our friends were still asleep. Riding home, we’d stop at the old Triggs Bakery, get donuts, and it was just fun.”

Saturday also marked the last meet of the season. For Cole, this meant his last meet, “like, ever,” before he heads off to college.

The season was also one for the books, as the Tri-County Swim Conference is still bouncing back from COVID-19. According to Plomedahl, a typical conference meet would bring eight teams to a pool with thousands in attendance. However, this year, the coach said local swim teams had to split up, compete against one other team in person, then compare times.

On Saturday, Plomedahl explained that COVID cases from a rivaling team led the two teams to swim at different pools.

Over the years and through the changes, Plomedahl said, “I think a lot of the culture and everything has stayed the same. You got tents all around, families being here, swimmers having fun with their friends. I just think the excitement over the years has just grown, and we just want to share this positive experience with as many people as we can.”

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