Middleton swimmers aiming high

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MTT News Desk's picture
Rob Reischel
Jackson Uselman won a pair of events at the Middleton Sectional last Saturday. Uselman and the Cardinals finished third as a team./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Hope. Optimism. Excitement.

Middleton’s boys swimming team has them all as they prepare for Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet. The event begins at 3 p.m. at the UW-Natatorium.

Two-time defending state champion Madison Memorial is the overwhelming favorite. But Middleton, which was fourth at state a year ago, has hopes of bettering that finish.

“I think the team is more than capable of being top three at state,” Cardinals senior Jackson Uselman said. “I think anything can happen, and just because Memorial is the favorite, I don't think that that means we can't do great things as a team. I think that we have a lot of talent on our team and we can do great things.”

Cardinals senior Jack McGovern agreed.

“Historically, our coach's taper strategy seems to work very well,” McGovern said of coach Luke Lengfeld. “Last year, as a team, we were seeded sixth and managed to pull off a fourth place finish. Consequently, I do believe we have a shot for a very high finish this year.”

The Cardinals’ hopes are high following a terrific showing at last Saturday’s Middleton Sectional.

Madison Memorial won the sectional with 398 points, while Madison West (343.5), Middleton (314), Verona/Mount Horeb (274.5) and Sun Prairie (238) rounded out the top five at the 12-team event.

Middleton qualified eight individuals for state and will be represented in nine different events.

“Sectionals went very well,” Cardinals coach Luke Lengfeld said. “Everyone swam very well and everyone dropped time, which is great.”

Uselman was the star of the show, taking first place in the 200 yard freestyle (1:42.47) and the 500 yard freestyle (4:43.91). Uselman is now seeded first at state in the 200 freestyle and second in the 500 freestyle.

“I was very excited for both of my races, especially my 200 because it was the last time I was going to get to swim my favorite event in my home pool,” Uselman said. “The 500 I was nervous for, because there were a lot of talented guys swimming it that were, and always are, capable of great times at every meet. I was super excited after looking up at the board for both events and seeing that I won both.”

Uselman was also part of two highly successful relay teams.

The quartet of Uselman, senior Nick Lund, McGovern and junior Zack Parkin was second at sectionals and broke the school record with a time of 3:09.21. That group is now seeded second at state, behind only Madison Memorial (3:08.84).

The foursome of Parkin, Lund, McGovern and Uselman was also second in the 200 yard freestyle relay (1:27.32). That group is also seeded second at state behind only Madison Memorial (1:27.09).

“My goals (now) are to break the team record in the 200 free that is currently held by our head coach (Lengfeld),” Uselman said. “And I would love to win it and have back to back years with a state champion on our team.

“I would also like to place top three in all of my events, if not better. Both of my relays are more than capable of having fast times. We have a great group of guys and I’m excited to see where we can finish.”

Middleton’s individual swims opened with a bang. Not only did Uselman win the 200 free, McGovern was second (1:44.38) and Lund was third (1:45.68). McGovern is now seeded fourth at state and Lund is ninth.

“Each one of us crushed our previous best time by quite a bit,” McGovern said. “Throughout the rest of the meet, me and many of my teammates (beat) our personal bests.”

That’s for sure.

The trio of Parkin (47.83), McGovern (47.95) and Lund (48.06) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 freestyle and are now seeded seventh, eighth and ninth at state. Junior Cooper Green was also eighth in the 200 and is seeded 22nd at state.

“It's really exciting to see two Middleton guys in the final heat of the 200 free and we are going to do our absolute best to get on the podium,” McGovern said. “Regardless of how I do, I will feel honored to have participated with swimmers of this caliber.”

Parkin was also second in the 50 freestyle (21.89) and is seeded 10th at state. Junior Cooper Green was seventh in the 100 yard backstroke (55.30) and is seeded 19th at state. Sophomore Lex Peterson was ninth in the 100 yard butterfly (55.15) and is seeded 21st at state.

Middleton’s quartet of Green, junior Matthew Kim, Peterson and junior Lars Haskins was fourth at sectionals (1:40.92) and is seeded 16th at state.

“Everyone is seeded really well for the state meet,” Lengfeld said. “This year, the top four or five places are up for grabs. 

“Seeing how we are seeded from the past weekend, how we have been swimming this year, and with the potential the guys have to swim even faster this upcoming weekend, I think a top three finish is a very strong possibility.”

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