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State Boys Swimming & Diving Championships Preview

Monday, February 11, 2019

State Boys Swimming & Diving Championships Preview

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS:  The 95th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at the Natatorium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. Ticket prices for the meet are $6 and are sold only at the UW Natatorium each day of the competition. 

MEET INFORMATION:  The Division 2 championships will be held Friday, with the Division 1 championships to follow on Saturday. The Division 2 diving competition begins Friday at 2:30 p.m., with the swimming finals scheduled at 6:30 p.m. The Division 1 diving competition will begin Saturday at 10 a.m., with the swimming events scheduled for 3 p.m. The swimming events will run consecutively following the first event's starting time on the respective days. Here is the order of events (all events in yards):

Order of Events
1.  Diving        
2.  200 Medley Relay 
3.  200 Freestyle          
4.  200 Individual Medley                 
5.  50 Freestyle            
6.  100 Butterfly
7.  100 Freestyle
8.  500 Freestyle
9.  200 Freestyle Relay
10.  100 Backstroke
11.  100 Breaststroke
12.  400 Freestyle Relay

MEET LIVE ON WIAA.TV ON THE NFHS NETWORK.COM:  Every event of the WIAA State Boys Swimming and Diving Championships will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $9.95 per month, log-on to www.wiaa.tv or www.nfhsnetwork.com and click on the subscription image in the middle of the page. Archived streams of the meets will be available on demand on the NFHS Network 72 hours after the tournament without requirement of a subscription.

LAST YEAR:  Madison West won the team championship for the first time since 1993, capturing the Division 1 title with 293 points. Middleton finished runner-up with 223.5 points. In Division 2, Monona Grove won its fourth straight championship by compiling 333 points, and Edgewood placed second with 191 points.

MEET HISTORY:  The WIAA began the boys swimming and diving championships in 1925 and moved to a two-division format in 1993. Madison Memorial has won 16 championships to lead all member schools. Waukesha, before it was split into three schools, captured 15 team titles with seven of those coming in succession from 1964-70. Madison West is third on the list of titles with 14. Shorewood and Wauwatosa, before it became two separate schools, have compiled nine championships. Arrowhead and McFarland have each claimed six team championships. All six of McFarland’s Division 2 crowns came in succession from 2007-12. Madison Memorial has produced the most event champions with 89. Waukesha competitors won 77 titles before it split into a multi-school district. Madison West has won 69 events, and Wauwatosa has won 61. Ben McDade of Monona Grove has won the most event championships in a prep career with 15, and Ryan O’Donnell of McFarland is next on the list with 14. Four individuals have won 10 State titles, including Ben Anderson of Arrowhead, Jay Mortenson of Madison West, Tom Wanezek of Brookfield East and Paul DeLakis of Eau Claire Memorial/North.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES-DIVISION 1:  Five events feature their 2018 champions attempting to retain their titles, including two individual events and three relays. In addition, one event returns its 2017 champion and another its 2016 victor. Senior Henry Miller of Madison West is the returning champion in the 100-yard breaststroke after finishing third in 2017 and 10th in 2016. He enters the meet with the third-fastest qualifying time of 58.38. The top seed time in the event belongs to senior Ben Gabbey of Muskego at 57.33 after placing runner-up to Miller last season. Senior Wes Jekel of Madison West is last year’s champion in the 100-yard backstroke after finishing runner-up in 2017. He has the fourth quickest qualifying time this season with a sectional performance of 50.76. The top qualifying time in the event belongs to senior Shane Blinkman of Hudson, who captured the title in 2017 following a runner-up finish in 2016. He enters action with a seed time of 50.12. Blinkman is also seeking to return to championship form in the 200 individual medley. He won the gold medal in 2016 and finished runner-up in 2017. He owns the swiftest qualifying time in the event this season with a 1:52.37. Senior Desmon Sachtjen of the Sauk Prairie/Lodi/Wisconsin Heights co-op is the top returning placer from last year’s event, finishing third after a sixth-place standing in 2017. His qualifying time of 1:56.50 ranks fifth this season. Junior Michael Linnihan of Brookfield Central/East is the top returning finisher from last year in two events. He placed third in the 100 freestyle a year ago after placing ninth in 2017. Linnihan is the fastest qualifier in the event this season with a time of 45.86. He is also the top returning performer in the 200 freestyle, finishing third last year. He has the second-fastest time among the qualifying field this year with a 1:41.32. Senior Andrew Martin of Middleton turned in the best seed time in the event at sectionals last weekend with a time of 1:40.10 after finishing ninth last season. Junior Kaiser Neverman of the Green Bay Southwest/East/Preble/West co-op was runner-up in the 100 butterfly a year ago and third in 2017, and he is among the favorites to win the event this season with the top qualifying time of 48.45. Stevens Point junior Drew Harris swam to the fastest qualifying time in the 500 freestyle at sectionals with a 4:37.63 after finishing fifth in the state last year. The top returning finisher from a year ago is junior Caleb Blischke of Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial, who was fourth last year and sixth in 2017. He enters the meet with the third-fastest time of 4:41.46. The 50 freestyle is loaded with experienced competitors as seven of the top-10 finishers last year return to vie for the title this year. Among them is junior Jacob Carlson of Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial, who is the top returner after finishing third a year ago. He enters the meet with a qualifying time of 21.36, which ranks eighth in the field. The top time entering action this week is the 20.79 recorded by sophomore Emilio Perez of the Greenfield/Greendale/Pius XI co-op. Senior Braden Rumpit of Brookfield Central/East enters the diving competition this week with the best qualifying score at sectionals with a 542.55 after placing third last season and fourth in 2017. Last year’s runner-up, senior Jared Kleczka of Franklin is the top returner to the event. He enters competition with the second-best qualifying score of 520.70. He also claimed a sixth-place finish in 2017. Madison West is the defending champion in both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. The Regents have posted the fastest qualifying time in the medley relay with a time of 1:33.29, and they have the second-swiftest time in the 400 freestyle at 3:08.32. Middleton possesses the top time in the event at 3:07.69. The Franklin 200 freestyle relay is the returning champion in the event, but it’ll need to improve on its qualifying time to compete for the title this season. The Sabers time of 1:30.18 ranks 19th among the qualifiers. Middleton has clocked in with the top seed time in the event with a 1:24.44.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES-DIVISION 2:  Only one of last year’s individual events features the return of its champion, and Monona Grove’s relays return in an attempt to continue their impressive run of success. Sophomore Ben Stitgen of Edgewood won the diving title last season in his freshman campaign. He enters the championships this season with the third-best qualifying performance at sectionals with a score of 408.40. Senior Garrett Gonwa of Cedarburg claims the top qualifying score with a 424.45 after placing runner-up last year. Senior Evan Szablewski of Shorewood claims the fastest qualifying times in a pair of events. His sectional time of 1:44.29 in the 200 freestyle leads the field by a fraction of a second. Senior Ben Bouchard of Pulaski is the top returning finisher from last season in the event, placing third. He enters the meet with a time of 1:45.28. Szablewski also boasts the best seed time in the 500 freestyle at 4:38.29 after finishing runner-up in the event last year. Senior Jeremiah Mansavage of Fort Atkinson is the top qualifier in both the 50 and 100 freestyles with the seed times of 21.53 and 47.52, respectively. He is also the top returner in the 100 freestyle after placing fourth a year ago and 14th in 2017. He placed ninth last season in the 50 freestyle, two places behind junior Lucas Koepke of Elkhorn, who is the top returning swimmer in the event. He qualifies with the seventh-fastest time of 22.53. Junior Aidan Lohr of Baraboo is the leading qualifier in both the 100 backstroke and the 200 individual medley. He recorded a time of 50.72 in the backstroke at sectionals after finishing third a year ago, which designates him the top returning swimmer in this year’s field. His qualifying time of 1:55.87 in the 200 individual medley comes following a third-place finish last season. The top returning competitor in the event is junior Truman teDuits of Edgewood, who finished runner-up in 2018. He has the second-quickest qualifying time of 1:56.95 in the field that features eight of last year’s top 13. The race for the 100 breaststroke title should be hotly contested. Junior Brock Aune of the Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol/Southern Door co-op is the top returning finisher after swimming to the silver medal last season. He enters the meet with the second-fastest qualifying effort of 58.73. It is sophomore Young Liang of Whitewater who possesses the top seed time of 58.69 following a bronze-medal performance last season. Senior Nolan Francis of Rhinelander has the best time recorded at the sectionals in the 100 butterfly this season at 52.31. To win the title, he’ll need to fend off senior Nick Starr of Grafton and junior Hunter Johnson of Elkhorn, who both have times within a second of Francis’. Senior Sam Ryf of Berlin/Green Lake is the top returning swimmer in the event after placing third a year ago. He enters the State finals with a time of 53.41. All three of the Monona Grove relays seek to repeat as champions. The 200 and 400 freestyle relays are in pursuit of their fifth straight championships. The Silver Eagles own the third-fastest qualifying time in the 400 relay with a time of 3:18.74 and the sixth-fastest qualifying time in the 200 relay at 1:31.02. Elkhorn is the top seed in the 400 freestyle with a time of 3:16.46, and Rhinelander possesses the best time in the 200 freestyle relay at 1:28.35. The Silver Eagles’ 200 medley relay enters the meet with the fourth-best qualifying time of 1:39.60, which is more than a second behind Rhinelander, the event’s top seed at 1:38.42. 

FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA:  Receive updates of the State Boys Swimming & Diving Championships on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaaswimdive. Also follow daily recaps on Facebook.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?:  All qualifiers, lane assignments and qualifying standards are available on the boys swimming and diving page on the WIAA website.

NEED RESULTS?:  Results of the State Tournament are available on the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org by accessing the boys swimming and diving Tournament Information page.

Release written by WIAA Communications

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