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WIAA state boys swimming: Wisconsin Badgers commit Wes Jekel leads Madison West’s Division 1 title defense | High School Swimming

“We’ve been waiting for this all season,” Madison West senior Wes Jekel explained.

A yr in the past, Jekel and his teammates celebrated poolside as Madison West attained its 14th condition boys swimming and diving championship — but its to start with considering that 1993.



A yr later, the major-rated Regents would like to repeat that profitable feeling at Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 condition meet at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.

“Last yr was magnificent,” Jekel explained. “Everything went ideal. You just can’t actually request for a lot more than that. This yr, we manufactured that our objective at the starting of the season. We’ve been working difficult all yr. It is hunting fantastic for us. So, we are hunting forward to this weekend.”

Jekel, a University of Wisconsin dedicate, gained the 100-property backstroke at previous year’s condition meet when Madison West completed 69.5 factors ahead of the runner-up, Big Eight Conference rival Middleton.

The Regents and Cardinals all over again figure to duel for the condition title, specifically right after Big Eight meet champion Madison West edged Middleton by a scant one particular-half stage at previous Saturday’s sectional.

A fantastic level of competition whets Jekel’s urge for food. The Regents might be friends — for occasion, Jekel and senior Jaden Weiss have acknowledged each and every other considering that center university — but they appreciate to compete in observe and satisfies.

“I consider what sets us apart is we are the most aggressive men,” explained Jekel, who’s competent in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly and also figures to swim in two relays. “We compete with each and every other every working day in observe. It provides us that racing mentality.”

Soon after previous season, the Regents’ losses incorporated senior standouts Lain Weaver and Matthew Fernandez and mentor Invoice Weaver, who recognized a position in Ohio and was changed by assistant Amanda Ellmaker. But loads of talent returned, including powerful relay teams and defending condition champions Jekel and Henry Miller (100 breaststroke), a University of Kentucky dedicate.

“It was a surreal knowledge previous yr,” explained Weiss, who’s fully commited to NCAA Division 1 Seattle University. “We knew the background at the rear of it. We had set our aims and knew what we ended up capable of. We labored actually difficult for it and when it came legitimate, it was an wonderful second and I consider we kind of carried that into this yr. Realizing what we’ve been capable of and knowing that feeling to get only determined us a lot more this yr to repeat it and do it all over again.”

Ellmaker explained the team’s push continues to be as intense.

“This yr, that push is even now there, obviously, to want to repeat,” explained Ellmaker, also the Regents’ girls swimming mentor. “And I consider that was their objective ideal from the starting — on Day A single. It’s unquestionably a sensible objective. We did shed Lain and Matthew, but a large amount of these boys have enhanced and stepped up to fill that gap.”

Ellmaker explained the Regents have performed a fantastic position preserving a healthier perspective about the anticipations that came with becoming the defending condition champion and this season’s major-rated staff.

“Every working day at observe, they are always there to thrust each and every other,” she explained. “They do a actually fantastic position concentrating on what they will need to do to get greater and not worrying about what the other teams are doing or how we stack up amid anyone else.”

Weiss, who has competent in the 200 specific medley and 100 backstroke, agreed, saying the Regents know when it’s time to do what they will need to do to attain these lofty anticipations.

“I consider this staff does a actually fantastic position at getting exciting and becoming mild and goofy when required, and also concentrating when required,” Weiss explained.

These could be the ultimate Division 2 and Division 1 satisfies at the Natatorium, with the Nicholas Recreation Center’s opening on the horizon.

UW Rec Sports activities has indicated to the WIAA a January 2020 target date for opening the new facility, WIAA assistant director Tom Shafranski explained, introducing in an e-mail: “The new building is not still enclosed, but that ought to transpire in just the following thirty day period or so — by the finish of March. At the time enclosed, they’ll have a lot more information and facts about a completion date. They are feeling assured that the 2020 boys condition meet will be at the Nicholas RC — but there is even now a likelihood that could alter.”

Ellmaker expects the new facility to be excellent, but the Natatorium retains specific recollections for her as a swimmer at Cedarburg and mentor at Madison West.

“Even although the ‘Nat’ is a actually outdated pool, it has a large amount of pleasure,” explained Ellmaker, a 2011 UW graduate who teaches specific schooling at Madison West. “The atmosphere is just actually loud and contagious. Just hunting up into the stands and seeing a thousand enthusiasts at a swim meet, it is actually interesting and such a fantastic feeling.”

Jekel expects Hudson’s major-seeded Shane Blinkman to existing a sizeable problem to Jekel’s bid for a repeat in the backstroke.

The Regents, in the meantime, are ready for one more tight battle with third-rated Middleton, which was rated No. 2 previous week in the condition coaches’ poll. Ellmaker explained the Regents have completed ahead of the Cardinals in 6 of the seven satisfies they’ve confronted off in this season.

“Middleton is a actually fantastic staff,” Weiss explained. “They’ve specified us wonderful level of competition this whole yr and actually pushed our staff. They’ve out-touched us and they have demonstrated us what it is like to shed this yr, and that was kind of the test we required.

“But we have had our eyes on the condition meet the whole yr. So, as close as it was at convention and sectionals, we know that when it arrives down to it our objective is condition. So, that is what we are heading out to get with all our hearts.”

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