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The question left after the WIAA Division 2 State Swimming Meet on Nov. 11 was simply, which of Autumn Haebig's feats was more spectacular?

Was it competing in three straight events, the 500-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 100-yard backstroke, midway through the meet?

Was it notching two first places and a second place in those events?

Or was it entering the final leg of her personal trifecta, the 100 backstroke, understandably tired but somehow not only winning it, but setting a state record?

The Grafton senior accomplished all of that, cementing her legacy as one of the greatest swimmers in state history.

A rare trifecta

She won the 500 freestyle in 4 minutes, 47.79 seconds, which is also a state record, topping the mark of 4:48.8 set by Kelsey Hojan-Clark of Brookfield Academy in 2010. That victory also enabled Haebig to finish her high-school career with four state championships in the 500 freestyle, which is a first in the girls meet.

She then teamed with senior Mallory Fox, sophomore Olivia Konzen and senior Emma O'Brien to finish second in the 200 freestyle relay at 1:36.61.

Finally, Haebig claimed the 100 backstroke in 54.65 seconds, breaking her own record of 54.95 set in 2015.

After the meet, Haebig thanked coach Tom Miazga for helping her pull off the remarkable triple.

"It goes back to how Tom trained me this year," said Haebig. "We worked on pace and distance. I was able to build the stamina I needed to compete in three events in a row.

"I was tired (for the backstroke), but I wanted to go as far as I could. I used the cliche 'last one, fast one' and just went as hard as I could. I just hoped to win the backstroke, and it shocked me when I found out I had broken my own record."

Nothing Haebig does at this point surprises her teammates.

"I have no words for her," said Fox, who earlier had claimed a state title of her own in the 100 freestyle. "I came in and saw she won the 500, just destroying the record, (and then the other two races).

"I trained with her for four years, which was hard, but it always helped me."

Win medley relay

Earlier that night, Haebig had opened the meet by helping O'Brien, Fox and Konzen win the 200 medley relay in 1:46.13. Those girls were familiar with that event, having competed on the 2015 squad that set the current state record of 1:45.87.

All of Haebig's heroics helped the Black Hawks finish third with 180 points despite having only four girls at the state meet, which is a feat in itself.

"With a small team, your focus becomes putting together great performances," Miazga said. "My focus was to guide these girls mentally into believing they could achieve big things. By the way we swam, not only did we achieve what we set out to do, we did it with such grandeur I still cannot wrap my head around all of it.

"The girls continually showed me what dedication, commitment and sacrifice to success looks like, and their level of training, their willingness to get better and their ability to work as a team paid off. To see them succeed so profoundly and take third place with four girls is something I will not soon forget."

Haebig said, "It was surprising that we took third with four swimmers. We were hoping for the top five. It just feels good to contribute to a team effort like that."

Fox added, "I didn't realize we had taken third place until we were at dinner later. I can't believe we did that."

Fox herself was a big part of that success with an individual first place and second place besides her relay finishes.

She won the 100 freestyle in 50.46 seconds, topping rival Alexandra Moderski of McFarland (50.58).

"I just thought, this is my senior year, I want to get an individual first for the first time," Fox said. "I do have a rivalry in the pool with Alex; I have competed against her in many sprint events. Out of the pool, though, we get along well together; she's a nice girl."

Earlier in the meet, Fox had taken second in the 50 freestyle with 23.38, trailing Moderski's 23.09.

O'Brien closed out the Grafton scoring with fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.37) and fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:11.52).

On to college

Haebig, who collected 14 state championships in her career, is now headed to the University of Nebraska next fall.

"It hasn't set in yet that it's over," she said. "I loved representing the school and my classmates. I have so many memories; my team was like a second family."

Fox will attend the University of Iowa next year, and O'Brien will go to the University of South Dakota.

"I could not have been more honored to coach these girls, especially as three of them move on to the collegiate level," Miazga said. "To share their last meet with them and close a journey on such a tremendous level is incredibly humbling for me."

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