MADISON — A little over three years ago Platteville’s Sam Iselin began his prep swimming career as a slightly above average swimmer.
A little over three years later, through dedication and hard work, Iselin capped his four-year varsity career as the second-best butterfly swimmer in the 35-year history of the program.
Iselin swam a lifetime best 55.20 seconds to place 13th in the 100-yard butterfly at the WIAA Division 2 state boys swimming and diving state championships.
Iselin, a three-year state qualifier, was Platteville/Lancaster’s only state participant this season.
“It was a great way for him to close out his career,” said second-year Platteville/Lancaster head coach Matt Wunderlin. “He is a diligent and hard-working athlete. Many of his fellow swimmers look at him as if he were some sort of Superman for whom swimming comes easy. As a coach, I have noticed over the years that he makes it look easy because he trains so thoughtful. He works very hard physically, but what sets him apart is the thought he puts into every stroke he does. He is analyzing, making changes, and pushing off of every wall with a plan on how to improve.”
Iselin scored four team points in the 100 fly, giving the Hillmen a 29th place tie with Kiel/Elkhart Lake–Glenbeulah.
Monona Grove — the 2014 D2 state runner-up and 2013 state champion — reclaimed the state team title by holding off McFarland 309–267, avenging a one-point loss to the Spartans at last week’s D2 Baraboo Sectional.
“Sam’s legacy is that he is the second best butterflyer in our team’s history He is also in the top-10 for sprint freestyle splits,” said Wundelin. “What may be more profound is that he didn’t walk in as a freshman with extraordinary talent. He worked his way to this achievement through his mental tenacity and purposeful swimming. He is an example to anyone that when you truly set your mind to something, you can be successful.”
Brazilian exchange student Leo Natale won a D2 state title for the Hillmen in the 100-yard butterfly in 2008 with a school-record time of 52.44.
Iselin placed 16th at state in the 100 butterfly (57.35) a year ago as a junior while also swimming of Platteville/Lancaster’s seventh-place 200 medley relay and 11th place
200 freestyle relay.
As a sophomore Iselin was a member of the Hillmen 200 medley relay that placed eighth at state.
As a co-captain and the team’s leading scorer Iselin led the Hillmen to a 4–4 overall record in duals, 3–3 in the Southern Lakes Conference, and a fifth-place finish at the SLC Championships.
“As for the season as a whole I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of team that improved so much in such a short period of time,” added Wunderlin. “As a coach I can write the workouts, set the weight-lifting schedule, and talk about technique, but unless the athletes execute it is all for nothing. This group of guys were remarkable in how they gave it their all every single day and grew both as athletes and young men. Even other teams noticed that our athletes improved so much that it was like we were a different team from the first to the last meet. I am proud of our guys and how they set the standard as to what it means to be a Hillmen swimmer.”
WIAA Division 2 State Championships
(from Friday, Feb. 20 @ UW–Natorium)
Top 10 team scores — 1.Monona Grove 309, 2.McFarland 267, 3.Shorewood 213, 4.Nicolet 200, 5.Ashwaubenon 157, 6.Grafton 143, 6.Whitewater 157, 8.Madison Edgewood 133, 9.Milton 97, 10.Whitefish Bay 93...29(tie).Platteville/Lancaster 4.
Platteville/Lancaster’s state qualifiers
100 butterfly — 3.Sam Iselin 55.20.