MADISON — Lancaster senior Jack Schaffer capped his successful prep swimming career Friday at the WIAA Division 2 state championships, along with Platteville teammates Dan Iselin, Vince Momot and Nick Demaree.
Schaffer placed 12th in both the 100-yard butterfly (54.33) and the 100 breaststroke (1:03.71) and swam the fly leg of Platteville/Lancaser’s 200 medley relay team, which finished 14th with a time of 1:46.09.
“When Jack began swimming there wasn’t anything that would indicate he’d ever be a state-caliber athlete,” said Hillmen head coach Matt Wunderlin. “He really improved during his sophomore year, then his work ethic kicked in during his junior year and we started to see him post some impressive times. This year that continued so that as we got near the sectional meet we had to make some difficult choices about what not to swim since his potential was high in so many events.”
After discussion it was decided that Schaffer would compete in the butterfly and breaststroke, as well as the relay, during the postseason.
“It seems we made the right choice,” joked Wunderlin. “Aside from his great swimming I think what I will always remember about Jack is his positive attitude. I don’t know of many swimmers who seem like they are having as much fun as he does.”
Iselin swam a lifetime best on his backstroke leg of the medley relay in the first event of the state meet. He then swam a second-straight lifetime best and placed 12th in the 100 backstroke with a time of 58.53.
“After Dan swam a lifetime best swim in the medley relay, we were really hopeful about his individual 100 backstroke,” said Wunderlin. “He looked smooth off the blocks, seemed to grab the water well, and kept his tempo where it needed to be. Then he reproduced that in his 100, swimming good splits, and came up with another lifetime best there. I’m really excited to see where he’s going to go next year.”
Momot swam a life-time best of 31.49 seconds on his 50-yard breaststroke leg of the medley relay. Demaree anchored the relay with a 23.15 50-yard freestyle swim. Momot is a senior and Demaree is a junior.
“I am very pleased with how everyone swam,” added Wunderlin. “It is extraordinarily difficult to hold a taper so I wasn’t sure if we’d see any best times. But we saw Nick and Dan produce lifetime bests, and Jack and Vince be near their bests so they can be proud of their swims and how they closed out the season.
“One of the hardest things as a coach is that you see an athlete’s potential, but because of their age and inexperience they often don’t realize what they are capable of,” added Wunderlin. “You wish you could get in the pool and swim for them and work hard for them because so often they won’t do what they should because it’s hard work and they don’t hold the big picture in mind. This season was a rare exception to this. As a team the athletes trusted and were willing to lay it on the line because they believed they could grow and do more even as we were getting sorely beaten early on. Then they continued to do what it took because they started to see improvement and the promised results. Ultimately what this small group of guys did in three months was incredible and I hope they carry the lessons they learned into the rest of their lives.”
WIAA Division 2 State Championships
(from Friday, Feb. 19 @ UW Natatorium)
Top 10 team scores — 1.Monona Grove 296, 2.Shorewood 251, 3.McFarland 216, 4.Grafton 213, 5.Cedarburg 209, 6.Nicolet 158, 7.Ashwaubenon 124, 8.Plymouth 112, 8.Baraboo 89, 10.Whitefish Bay 74... 22.Platteville/Lancaster 21.
Platteville/Lancaster state qualifiers
200 medley relay — 14.Pla/Lan (Dan Iselin, Vince Momot, Jack Schaffer, Nick Demaree) 1:46.09. 100 butterfly — 12.Schaffer (P/L) 54.33. 100 backstroke — 12.Iselin (P/L) 58.53. 100 breaststroke — 12.Schaffer (P/L) 1:03.71.