Waukesha South swimmers ascend to WIAA Division 1 throne

John Acevedo won the 500-yard freestyle, and Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial interrupted Madison Memorial's streak of six straight state titles with a championship performance Feb. 18 in Madison.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
Share This Story

As John Acevedo stared up at the electronic results board, the Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial ascension was just beginning. Acevedo, a newly minted state champion in the 500-yard freestyle, had reached a school-record threshold of 4:30.12, and that was a great start.

Then came Caleb Blischke in sixth, Andrew Derzay in 12th, the 200 free relay in second and four backstrokers in the scoring led by a fourth place by Jacob Carlson. The Blackshirts were stockpiling points at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium on Feb. 18.

“We knew the middle portion of the meet was where we had to make up ground or put the meet out of reach,” South coach Blaine Carlson said. “In the 500 free, the backstroke … almost half those entries were in those two races. Guys were really excited at that point.”

By the end, the Waukesha South swimmers had emerged with the Division 1 state championship in Madison, scoring 246 points and prevailing with the gold, as expected. Six-time reigning state champion Madison Memorial settled for second with 216 points.

Acevedo’s 500, one of five school records for South in the meet, marked the only individual victory. But nobody could match the Blackshirts' strength across the board.

“We were both excited and nervous because we knew we had great swims in us, but we knew expectations were very high,” Acevedo said. “There were past alumni and teachers there and some guys from the previous winning team (in 2010), so we had a big crowd to please.”

Acevedo took third in the 200-yard freestyle despite coming into the meet with the top seed time; his coach thought it might have been an early example of some nervous swims under the state-meet spotlight. But when Acevedo hit the home stretch of the 500, it became apparent that he was going to win at least one title.

“I was excited because I didn’t know I was going to drop that much time,” Acevedo said. “Me and my coach had a goal of low 4:30s by the end of the season, and to get 30 flat is actually better than what we were expecting.”

Acevedo, already training for the club state meet in two weeks and nationals the week after that, posted a time that will merit All-American consideration. The same can be said for the runnerup 200 free relay (Jacob Carlson, Conrad Farrell, Acevedo, Jeremy Nagy) in 1:25.74.

In addition to those two races, new school records came in both the other relays and in the butterfly, where senior Nathan Carlson took fifth in 51.03. The medley relay crew of Nagy, the Carlsons and Blischke swam 1:36.44 for sixth place, and the 400 team swam fourth in 3:09.53 with Acevedo, Blischke, Farrell and Nathan Carlson.

South/CMH, which features a varsity roster of entirely swimmers hailing from South, went in as the favorite and came out with the gold.

“Those points can evaporate pretty quickly, especially if you’re a team where you have a lot of kids seeded high,” Blaine Carlson said. “It doesn’t take much to have one or two guys fall two places and have somebody from another team move up two places, and there’s 10 to 15 points gone pretty quickly. I don’t think any meet is ever safe. You never know when somebody might jump on a relay and change the whole complexion of the meet. Just to know we’ve got a chance, you have to execute. I talked to the guys and told them the last time we won was 2010. Before that, it was 1970. When you’re this close, you want to make sure you take advantage of opportunities, because you never know when you’re going to get an opportunity to do that.

“We had guys like Sam Wade, Connor Clemetson, Gabe Castillo, guys that weren’t scoring in the top eight. We talked about everyone needing to score; it’s a total team thing. Those guys really bought into that, and that was huge.”

After Jacob Carlson took fourth in the backstroke, Nathan Carlson hit the wall tied for sixth, Clemetson in 11th and Ben Mee in 15th for the team’s biggest event of the night.

Jacob Carlson and Conrad Farrell took sixth and seventh place in the 50 free, respectively, and Farrell added fifth in the 100 free. Blischke added 10th place in the individual medley.

Acevedo, a returning member of last year’s state squad, made adjustments to his diet over the past year that paid off in a big way.

“It seemed like a small adjustment, but it turned out to be major,” he said. “It surprised me how fast and how easily I was dropping. In the summer, when I was in the process of dropping time and dropping weight, I could just tell. I was able to beat my best time from six months ago even in small meets.”

He said the longer the race, the better he fares, though he finds the 200 to be the most interesting race.

“It’s middle distance, so you have the close-quarter competition, but at the same time, it’s long enough where things can change, so that’s where it really gets interesting.”

He’ll be given a chance to make more history with South as a senior next year. Nathan Carlson, Nagy, Mee, Castillo, Derzay and Wade are the graduates.

“We had a lot of support at the meets,” Blaine Carlson said. “It started with conference, where we were seeing a lot of administrators and faculty at the meets, and students were starting to come in more (to watch meets). It generated some buzz, and it was great.”

CLOSE
Skip in Skip
x

Embed

x

A video slideshow of the 2017 WIAA state boys swimming and diving meet. Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial won the Division 1 meet. Christopher Kuhagen/Now Media Group

Share This Story