Though in recent years in the WIAA State D2 boys swim competition, the Madison area schools have had this metaphorical habit of slamming the Milwaukee-area teams up against their lockers and taking their lunch money, there have been bright spots for the area squads.
Such as those that Brown Deer/USM, Whitefish Bay and host Shorewood put on display in the regular season closer, the State Small Schools meet on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Ben Hayes of the Brown Deer/USM co-op had the singular high moment, dominating the 200-yard individual medley in leading the Falconcats to a 14th-place finish in the 18-team field with 45 points while Shorewood was eighth with 130 and Bay ninth with 121.
Defending state D2 champ and Madison-area power Monona Grove dominated the meet with 409 points while Milwaukee-area school Grafton was second with 269.5. Madison area schools then took the next three spots.
Veteran Bay coach Jim Davis has been down this path before and thinks this state D2 meet tuneup (the actual meet is slated for Feb. 17) served the Blue Dukes well.
"I can't even believe that we're at this point already," said Davis, referring to how fast the season went by. "Everything just went by so fast. But I really liked what we did. We were really competitive with our relays. I know the kids really fought and competed and we had some good time drops."
Bay will compete in the North Shore Conference meet at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Nicolet.
The best swim for Bay was a fifth by Mike McMahon in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.42). The 200 free relay team of Phil Flejsierowicz, Matt Swietlik, William Tarpey and McMahon was also fifth (1:35.94).
Other solid efforts included the following: 200-yard medley relay (Adam Stellenwerk, Chris Hastings, Henry Fetzer and Flejsierowicz) 11th (1:52.74); 200 individual medley: Stollenwerk, 12th (2:20.19); 50 free: Tarpey, 10th (23.57); 100 butterfly: Fetzer, seventh (59.16); 100 free: McMahon, eighth (51.87); 100 backstroke: Stollenwerk, 13th (1:04.3); and 400 free relay: Flejsierowicz, Stollenwerk, Tarpey, and McMahon, seventh (3:34.89).
For Brown Deer/USM, Hayes, a captain, was largely the story, as he won the 200 IM by close to four seconds in 1:58.19. He also took a try at an event he doesn't normally swim and took second in the 500 free with an excellent time of 4:43.99. Defending state event champ and recordholder Ben McDade of Monona Grove wasn't all that far ahead in 4:41.09.
"(Hayes) had a great day placing second in the 500 an event that he was not even training for," said coach Drew Jones. "He just wanted to give it a go. Caleb Saffold was also 15th in breaststroke (1:12.52). He had a great swim."
For Shorewood, the 500 free was the highlight event, as Evan Szablewski was third in a season-best of 4:57.77 and Charlie Phillips was fifth (5:08.85).
Other notable efforts included the following: 200 medley relay (Szablewski, Peter Rath, Phillips and Lucas Barry) ninth (1:51.38); 200 free: Phillips, seventh (1:54.38); Szablewski, eighth (1:55.86); 200 IM: Micah Sweet, 11th (2;19.93); 50 free: Barry, sixth (23.33); 100 free: Barry, ninth (51.92); and 400 free relay (Szablewski, Phillips, Sweet, and Barry) eighth (3:35.89).
Brown Deer/USM and Shorewood will compete in the Woodland Conference meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Greenfield.