Piller set to dive into college
the men’s program to 21 straight WIAC titles. The women have won six WIAC titles in his tenure. He was a four-year letter winner at the University of Minnesota and served as an assistant coach there before arriving at UW-SP. Justin Stoffel is a 15-year assistant coach with the program and diving coach Sara Schierl, who’s coached for nine seasons, was once a four-time national diving champion at UW-Eau Claire.
Piller said she got to know the coaches while attending swim camp. While she was going back and forth for a time deciding on whether to attend UW-SP or UW-Milwaukee, Point emerged as the choice about three months ago.
“I wasn’t really sure if I was going to (keep swimming), but I thought about it a lot and I decided that I just had to do it for a couple more years,” Piller said. “I thought about swimming recreationally, but I really like the thrill of the competition. I’ve wanted to go to Stevens Point for a while actually. Their pool is amazing. It’s a really good sports program.”
Piller, a two-year captain for Medford, expects her role with the Pointers to be similar as it was with the Raiders, competing in breaststroke and freestyle sprinting events. She finished her senior season fifth in the GNC in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:17.38) and seventh in the sectional at a season-best 1:14.24. She was 15th in the GNC in the 100-yard freestyle at 1:01.89 and was part of the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. Her season-best 100 time was 1:01.82. The 200-yard freestyle relay team topped out at 1:51.56, good for 11th at the sectional meet. The 400-yard freestyle team hit 3:54.74 at the sectional in Wisconsin Rapids, good for sixth place.
The 200-yard medley team of junior Erin Bergman, Piller, junior Morgan Ball and sophomore Kami Razink set a school-record time of 1:53.66 and placed fourth at the sectional. They finished 16th at state in 1:55.5.
“Breaststroke is the thing that they are looking for,” Piller said. “They don’t have a lot of them over there. I’ll be in breaststroke and sprinting with freestyle. And I already knew the coaches because I did a camp down there awhile ago. It was great to talk with them.”
“I am beyond excited to see Faith continuing her swimming career in college,” Medford head coach Betsy Berends said. “Every year I have had the pleasure of coaching her she has improved into the wonderful swimmer that she is. She was a key breaststroker for us every year. Seeing her swim at state last fall was an awesome end to her high school career but I know she has more in her and I’m excited to see just how fast she can go in college.”
Piller plans to major in sociology and is leaning toward minoring in philosophy. If all goes as planned, swim practice will start in September and the season carries into February. She’s the second Raider swimmer in recent years to join Point’s program. Katie Homeyer also was a breaststroke and individual medley swimmer for the team from 2013-17.
“It’s a full-year thing so we’ll start practicing in the pool in September when I finally go and then we swim yearround, competing,” Piller said. “That’s another change from high school. I really want to improve on my breaststroke time obviously and my sprinting times. But, I think I’m more focused on just relationships in college, the people I can meet and everyone just forming new friendships.
“From what I hear from all the swimmers, everyone is really nice,” she added. “They understand that in the pool we compete, but when we’re outside of the pool it’s just a good time with friends.”
“She is joining a great college program,” Berends said. “I’m also excited she will be swimming so close to home. I’m hoping to take some high school girls to a meet to watch her. It will be great incentive for them to see what they can achieve if they work hard at it like Faith has for the past four years” As excited as she is to move on to the next level, Piller said there are memories from her time as a Raider that will endure.
“I think state this year and when we broke the record, that was just an amazing moment,” she said. “It’s just like every little moment after that. I don’t remember the practices. I remember the locker room with the team and the bus rides, the little things that happened the whole time. Like when we found out (assistant coach) Sally (Nazer) was pregnant twice. It was just a fun time.”