MILWAUKEE - Normally, winning a state championship would be the goal for every high school sports team. However, in 2020, the possibility of a postseason and competing for a title are more so on the back burner for fall sports programs.
The Arrowhead High School girls swimming and diving team is taking a different approach to defining their season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pool is where the team usually makes its mark. This year, though, the biggest footprint was left on the track.
The girls swimming and diving team did a virtual 5K run and walk at the high school to raise money for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin.
Arrowhead High School girls swimming and diving team holds a 5K run/walk benefiting Make-A-Wish Wisconsin
It has been a longstanding tradition for the team. Normally, they'd be in Milwaukee participating in the Make-A-Wish run/walk, but the pandemic forced them to change their approach.
The team tried to keep it as normal as possible -- with a beach theme and tie-dye shirts.
In about a week, the girls raised over $11,000 online -- a team record -- shattering their previous best by almost $5,000.
"To see the dedication of the girls here at Arrowhead, and the swim and dive team, to continue on raising funds to grant wishes it's just awesome," said Forrest Doolen, director of marketing and communicators for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. "It's really what Make-A-Wish is all about. It's all about the community"
Ruth Ann Ahnen, Arrowhead High School girls swimming and diving coach
The dedication hits close to home.
"I don’t know, I’m emotional. My daughter was a wish kid," said Ruth Ann Ahnen, Arrowhead's girls swimming and diving coach.
The money was able to help fund a wish for Ethan, an 18-year-old from Oconomowoc, who is living with end-stage renal disease.
As an avid fisherman, Ethan's dream was to have a pontoon boat. That wish was granted, showing empathy in a time when it is very much needed.
Ethan, an 18-year-old from Oconomowoc, who is living with end-stage renal disease
"We mostly just raised this money, not for any incentives other than having that kid feel good and get something that they really want," said Sydney Stoll, an Arrowhead senior.
"It's very special. We're always big on donating and fundraising for charities," said Samantha DeVillers, an Arrowhead senior. "I think it's great that we can look at that as an accomplishment this season."
The girls have also collected over 1,500 cans for the Hartland Food Pantry. So, instead of swimming toward a state title, their ultimate reward was doing what they could for others.