Milton High junior leads a talented Red Hawk swimming team
MILTON If Bridgette Alexander could possess one superpower, walking on water would top the list.
That's funny, because to the majority of her opposition, she probably already appears to be doing that.
The Milton High School junior is making big waves in the pool. Alexander begins WIAA postseason competition Saturday at the Division 2 Baraboo Sectional with a handful of personal and team goals within sight. She's the two-time defending champion in the 200-meter individual medley, and the Red Hawks are the two-time defending Division 2 team champions. Three straight seems a like a foregone conclusion for both Alexander and the dominant Milton program.
"I'm always working hard, and so are my teammates, in trying to take it to the next level," Alexander said. "We always want to walk away from a meet with no regrets, knowing we did the best we could.
"Winning state again would be great, but it's not going to happen unless we continue to work hard and continue to support one and other."
With state around the corner, Alexander is pushing herself to be at her best. She is trying to maintain a strict, healthy diet as she zeroes in on two state records.
Madison East graduate Aja Van Hout holds the overall state record in the 200 individual with a time of 2:00.06 set in 2009. Alexander's best time in the event is 2:05.3.
In the 100-meter backstroke, Mackenzie Buss of Shawano set the overall state mark with a time of 55.25, set in 2011. Alexander's top time in the event is 54.5. State records can only be set at the state meet.
Alexander's biggest threat in winning her first 100-meter backstroke title will likely come from teammates Katelyn Holmquist and Chelsea Calhoon. Holmquist is the defending D2 champion in the event and has the second-fastest time this season (57.35) behind Alexander (56.32). Calhoon has the third-fastest time at 58.34. Holmquist, Alexander and Calhoon finished 1-2-3, respectively, at the state meet a year ago.
"I don't think there's any doubt that Bridgette's best years of swim are ahead of her," Milton assistant coach Tom Lieder said. "As she continues to mature physically and gets stronger, she's only going to get that much better.
"And to have the top three swimmers in one event from the same school is unheard of. But that just shows you the dedication and determination they all have each and every day to the sport."
Alexander's talents offered her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this past summer. The 16-year-old qualified for the US Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha, Neb. She finished 51st in the 200-meter backstroke and 57th in the 100-meter backstroke. Olympic sensation Missy Franklin won both events and went on to win four gold medals, including a world record in the 200 backstroke.
"She was really nice," Alexander said of Franklin. "We smiled at each other when we passed in the hallway, and I guess, I didn't notice at the time, but she held the door open for me one time when I was walking into the pool area.
"That whole experience was something I'll never forget. And having a chance to compete there makes me want to work as hard as I can for a chance to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro games in four years."
Alexander, the daughter of Bob and Brenda, can't imagine life outside of the pool. She is undecided yet as to whether to take a week off following the state meet or to immediately begin training with the J-Hawk club team out of Whitewater. If she skips the week off, it means she has no time away from the pool the entire year.
"I love to swim," Alexander said. "And when I take any time off, it feels weird when I get back in the water. My arms feel tired and it takes awhile to get back into the shape I need to be in."
Bridgette Alexander isn't about to walk on water, but she certainly makes one heck of a wake behind her.
-- Person I admire the most: My dad (Bob).
-- Pregame routine: Make sure I'm loose and listen to some music.
-- Best sports memory: Missing the US Olympic Trials qualifying time by 100th of a second, but then beating the time the next race to qualify.
-- Favorite food: Spaghetti.
-- Favorite pastime: Shooting hoops.
-- In 10 years, I'll be: A children's doctor.
-- Best invention in the last 100 years: iPod.
-- An unusual thing the average person wouldn't know about me: I can wiggle my ears.
-- Dream job: Work with kids.
-- If I could have one superpower, it would be: To walk on water.
-- If I could play any other sport, it would be: Softball.
-- Favorite all-time sports hero: Michael Phelps.
-- My favorite saying: "A true measure of an individual's integrity is what they do when they know for sure that no one will find out how it was done."
-- If I could have dinner with one famous person, it would be: Justin Bieber.
-- CD currently getting the most play: A mix of pop.