Johnson gunning for gold

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John Barry
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

As a four-time qualifier, Sam Johnson has made steady progress at the WIAA Division 2 boys state swimming meet.

The Elkhorn High senior finished sixth as a sophomore in the 500-yard freestyle before finding the podium twice last year. Johnson was second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle.

With the state meet on tap Friday night at the UW-Natatorium in Madison, Johnson hopes his final high school meet is golden.

“I'm a senior and want to end with a bang,” Johnson said. “If I go up there and have my best times but don't win, I'm fine with that. But I really want to win state. That's everybody's goal, and I've got a chance to do that.”

Johnson, the student council president and a National Honor Society member, is the top seed in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:46.16 and the second seed in the 500 freestyle at 4:48.26. DeForest's Nick Potter is the top seed in the event with a time of 4:42.89.

As the top seed a year ago, Johnson felt the pressure at the state meet.

“Last year was a bit nerve-wracking,” Johnson said. “I wasn't as mentally prepared as I should've been. I think this year I'll be a lot less nervous because I've been through it before.”

Johnson said race strategy is different for his two events. He considers the 200 freestyle an all-out sprint to the finish, while the 500 is more of a strategic race. Pacing and stroke count are much more important in the 500, and Johnson likes the fact that he will be in Lane 5, where he can keep close tabs on Potter in Lane 4.

Since joining the Waukesha club team as a 9-year-old, Johnson has been swimming competitively year-round except for two-week breaks in March and August. Johnson hopes to swim collegiately but will wait until after Friday's state meet to decide.

“We'll see what happens,” Johnson said. “I love swimming, but if this is going to be it, I can't think of a better way than with a state title.”

Roberts top seed in 100 breaststroke

 Johnson is not the only top-seeded area swimmer competing at Friday night's Division 2 state meet.

Milton's Mitchell Roberts is the top seed in the 100 breaststroke. The sophomore comes into state with a qualifying time of 1:00.41, while Sam Mischio of McFarland is seeded second with a time of 1:00.82.

Also in Division 2, Fort Atkinson senior Tyler Zaspel is seeded third in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 100 backstroke. Whitewater's Jonathon Zimdars is seeded fourth in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 500 freestyle.

Craig's Loftus, Parker relay team make state

At Saturday's Division 1 state meet, Janesville Craig junior Peter Loftus is seeded 19th in the 200 individual medley at 2:02.90. Eau Claire Memorial freshman sensation Paul DeLakis is the top seed in the event with a time of 1:53.65. DeLakis is also the top seed in the 100 breaststroke at 57.49.

Janesville Parker's 200 freestyle relay team of Mark Gosline, Sam Amundson, Austin Wolter and Ethan Perry is seeded 19th with a time of 1:31.13.


Area qualifiers

Division 1

200 individual medley—Peter Loftus, sr., Janesville Craig, 2:03.16; Top seed—Paul DeLakis, fr., fr., Eau Claire Memorial, 1:53.65.

50 freestyle—Andrew Shane, soph., Lake Geneva Badger, 22.16; Top seed—Jon Roberts, sr., Muskego, 21.48.

100 freestyle—Andrew Shane, soph., Lake Geneva Badger, 48.17; Top seed—Andrew Lindstrom, sr., Madison West, 46.90.

500 freestyle—Chance Murray, sr., Beloit Memorial, 4:59.81; Top seed—Joe Szczupaliewicz, sr., Muskego, 4:38.03.

200 freestyle relay—Janesville Parker, 1:31.13; Lake Geneva Badger, 1:30.23; Top seed—Cedarburg, 1:27.27.

100 breaststroke—Caleb Schober, sr., Beloit Memorial, 1:00.82; Remington Glogovsky, sr., Lake Geneva Badger, 1:00.16; Top seed—Paul DeLakis, fr., Eau Claire Memorial, 57.49.

400 freestyle—Lake Geneva Badger, 3:22.36; Top seed—Hartland Arrowhead, 3:12.28.


Division 2

200 medley relay—Milton, 1:43.52; Whitewater, 1:43.10; Fort Atkinson, 1:43.40; Top seed—McFarland, 1:38.42.

200 freestyle—Sam Johnson, sr., Elkhorn, 1:46.16; Top seed—Johnson.

200 individual medley—Aaron Talabac, jr., Milton, 2:09.05; Top seed—Kevin Van Cleave, jr., Brookfield Academy, 1:56.63.

50 freestyle—Oscar Strieter, fr., Fort Atkinson, 23.28; Tyler Zaspel, sr., Fort Atkinson,          22.13; Top seed—Zack Perkin, sr., Edgewood, 21.45.

100 butterfly—Benny Liang, soph., Whitewater,56.79; Alex Kerig, soph., Milton, 56.67; Jonathon Zimdars, jr., Whitewater, 54.14; Top seed—Zach Soper, jr., Shawano, 52.23.

100 freestyle—Tommy Wecker, jr., Milton, 50.87; Top seed—Jan Hansen, sr., Beaver Dam, 47.12.

500 freestyle—Jonathon Zimdars, jr., Whitewater, 4:59.43; Sam Johnson, sr., Elkhorn, 4:48.26; Top seed—Nick Potter, jr., DeForest, 4:42.89.

200 freestyle relay—Milton, 1:34.48; Top seed—Edgewood, 1:27.92.

100 backstroke—Tommy Wecker, jr., Milton, 57.46; Tyler Zaspel, sr., Fort Atkinson, 54.99; Top seed—Zach Soper, jr., Shawano, 51.05.

100 breaststroke—Benny Liang, soph., Whitewater, 1:03.46; Mitchell Roberts, soph., Milton, 1:00.41; Top seed—Roberts.

400 freestyle relay—Milton, 3:30.85; Fort Atkinson, 3:26.72; Whitewater, 3:23.04; Top seed—Monona Grove, 3:17.54.

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