Feb 12 2018

D1 meet scored (9kb)

Madison West is seeded to win its first state title since 1993.

West, a longtime Wisconsin swim power, had a run of four straight runner-up finishes at the Division 1 state meet from 2013-16, but has not won a state title for more than two decades. The Regents won 13 state titles from 1977 to 1993 under the guidance of legendary coach Tom Hargraves. West, #1 in the Div. 1 WISCA poll for a good share of the season, is seeded to score 291 points.

Defending D1 state champs Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial leads a group of three more teams seeded to score 200+ points, with 260. The Blackshirts are followed by Middleton (235 points) and Madison Memorial, last year's runners-up (213.5). Here are the details on the top-seeded teams:

-- Madison West (291 points): 18 swimmers/divers qualified plus all 3 relays;

-- Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial (260): 13 swimmers/divers plus 3 relays;

-- Middleton (235): 17 swimmers plus 3 relays;

-- Madison Memorial (213.5): 17 swimmers/divers plus 3 relays.

-- Brookfield Central/East: 11 swimmers/divers plus 3 relays

-- Arrowhead: 14 swimmers/divers plus 3 relays.

The top-seeded Regents and defending state champ Blackshirts both qualified a diver into the meet, and both qualified all three of their relays into the final heat of the three relay events. But their similarities end there.

Waukesha South, with a long tradition of outstanding freestyle swimming, lived up to that tradition at sectionals, qualifying eight of their 11 swim entries into the 50, 100, 200 and 500 frees; they are seeded to score 109 points in the four individual free races.

West, meanwhile -- to a degree that's a bit unusual in high school swimming -- is built around stroke events. In the 200 IM and three stroke events (butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke), West qualified 12 of its 17 swim entries in the four stroke events. They are seeded to score 143 points, nearly half their seeded totals, in the four stroke events.

So in an interesting way, the two top-seeded teams for the most part won't spend a lot of time duking it out against each other (relays, of course, excepted). One key race where they will, however, will come early -- the 200 free. West has three swimmers in the race, while WS/CM has two. In the second heat, junior Constantin Bensch and sophomore Isaac Casey will compete for the Regents, with Casey holding down the 9th overall seed. Meanwhile, senior Lain Weaver -- moved out of the 50 free by coach (and dad) Bill Weaver -- sits in lane 7 as the 6th overall seed in the race. The Blackshirts counter with senior John Acevedo, who was 3rd a year ago and earned the top seed coming out of sectionals, and Conrad Farrell -- like Weaver, switched out of the 50 free, which he swam last year at state. He's seeded 5th overall.

One final thought regarding the top two seeds: West brought all 18 entries out of state, while WS/CM has 13. That gives West a better margin for error; the Regents qualified 10 swimmers to the meet, so they can afford one or two of them having an off day. WS/CM has seven swimmers in the meet, and probably needs all of them to be on their games to defend their title.

Big 8 Conference competitors Middleton and Madison bring a lot of entries into the state meet -- both with 17. Middleton was particularly sharp at the Beloit Memorial sectional, and has a nicely balanced lineup seeded to score points in every event save for diving. They are led by seniors Michael Draves (200/500 frees) and Sam Young (200 IM/100 breaststroke) -- both are seeded into the final heat of both their events.

A few words about Memorial: beware the Spartans. Don't discount Memorial, even with their 4th-place seeding. With a smaller squad than they are bringing this year, Memorial seeded up 71.5 points last year, and ended up bringing home the runner-up trophy. Of the Spartans 16 swim entries this year, five are not seeded to score points, only six are seeded into the final heat, and none of the Spartans earned a top seed. They have plenty of room to move up. And they also have a pretty hot diver on their hands in senior Sam Smith. Keep an eye on the early races of the meet -- Memorial has six swimmers in the first three events, and if they start popping off fast times and moving up in seeding, Memorial could have a big say in who brings home the state-meet hardware.