Madison West is no stranger to winning state boys swimming championships.
It’s just been a while since the Regents reveled while holding the first-place trophy during the traditional post-meet victory swim. On Saturday, West celebrated like it was 1993, the most recent time the Regents had earned top honors.
“These guys know it’s been a long time,” Regents coach Bill Weaver said. “A lot of people have come before us that have been trying to get here, so this is as much for them as it is for these guys.
“It’s surreal, (it’s) pretty awesome. I don’t think that you can really grasp what it feels like until it actually happens.”
Top-ranked West totaled 293 points at the WIAA Division 1 state boys swimming and diving meet at the University of Wisconsin’s Natatorium and earned its 14th state championship. The Regents won 12 of their titles between 1977 and 1991.
“It’s been our goal all year long,” said Weaver, who’s stepping down as coach. “These guys have just done it every day. We’ve lived it and it’s so great to see all their hard labor come to fruition here today.”
West senior Lain Weaver won the 100-yard butterfly, junior Wes Jekel claimed the 100 backstroke and junior Henry Miller earned the 100 breaststroke title. The Regents won the 200 medley relay in state-record time and also won the 400 freestyle relay.
“It’s awesome,” Miller said. “It’s been 25 years since West won. We were disappointed with how we did at last year’s meet (finishing fifth). We wanted to do a lot better this year. Everyone got better this season.”
Said Lain Weaver: “These guys swam their hearts out today.”
Middleton earned second with 223.5 points, matching the program’s best state finish. The Cardinals wound up just ahead of defending champion Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial (221) and fourth-place Madison Memorial (215).
“We just tried to keep the guys fresh all week so they could go fast again today, and they did,” Middleton coach Danny Lynam said. “Everyone we had ‘PRed.’ That is more than you can ask for. … We had a bit of a flat postseason last year. We didn’t do as well as we hoped. So, the coaches set a target of a top-five finish at state.”
It was the final prep meet representing West for Weaver and his son, Lain, an Ohio State commit. Bill Weaver said he’s accepted an engineering job in northern Ohio and he and his family will be moving to the Cleveland area.
“It’s kind of a sentimental moment for us here,” Bill Weaver said. “It’s so very cool to see (Lain) come out on top as a team and as an individual.”
Jekel, Miller, junior Constantin Bensch and senior Matthew Fernandez set a state record in winning the 200 medley relay in 1 minute, 32.35 seconds — breaking Madison Memorial’s 2015 mark of 1:33.06. Madison Memorial was second (1:33.09) and the Sauk Prairie co-op was fourth.
“There are a lot of ebbs and flows to the meet, but I felt really good and I got pretty calm after the medley relay,” Bill Weaver said. “I know that is early, but that was a good indicator of where our guys were.”
Lain Weaver earned the 100 butterfly title in :48.99, edging Green Bay Southwest co-op’s Kaiser Neverman (:49.09). Defending butterfly champion Alex Wowk, a Madison Memorial senior, finished third (:49.31).
“I was very excited,” Weaver said. “I’ve gone for that race for the past three years. I’ve always wanted to try to get it. Going out and winning it my senior year, I was more than happy.”
West won the meet’s final three events. Jekel won the backstroke (:49.11), edging runner-up Wowk (:49.89).
“I felt really good (in that race),” Jekel said. “To win, with my best time, is awesome.”
Miller won the 100 breaststroke (:56.59), after finishing third last year. Bensch, Jekel, sophomore Isaac Casey and Weaver then combined to win the 400 freestyle relay (3:04.94). Madison Memorial was third and Middleton finished fourth, which sealed second place for the Cardinals.
Ben Davis, a senior from the Greenfield co-op, claimed first (1:39.19) in the 200 freestyle. Weaver was second and Middleton senior Michael Draves finished fourth.
West Bend East/West senior Bryan Fitzgerald won the 200 individual medley (1:50.15), ahead of runner-up Jekel (1:51.53). Desmon Sachtjen, a Lodi junior who swims for the Sauk Prairie co-op, won the second heat and finished third overall (1:52.95).
Hartland Arrowhead senior Lucas Farrar won the 50 freestyle (:20.47). Middleton sophomore Nate Lamers placed fourth (:21.03). Farrar later claimed the 100 freestyle title in (:44.37).
John Acevedo of Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial defended his 500 freestyle title (4:31.15). Indiana commit Draves was third (4:33.12).
Franklin came out of the first heat and won the 200 freestyle relay (1:24.96). West and Middleton followed in second and third, respectively.
Kenosha Tremper senior Brandon Spencer won his third state diving title, totaling 524.45 points.