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Lake Geneva Badger's Lagerhausen has shot at Olympics

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JOHN N. BARRY
December 6, 2007
— The 2008 Summer Olympics will be held in Beijing.

Wes Lagerhausen hopes to be part of the United States delegation that marches into National Stadium for the opening ceremonies on Aug. 8th.


The Badger High senior and standout on the Badger/Big Foot co-op swim team, is one of the top freestylers in the nation and a serious threat to land a spot on the U.S. swimming and diving team. Not bad for a 17-year-old who didn’t get serious about the sport until high school.


“It’s kind of bizarre and surreal at the same time,” Lagerhausen said of the opportunity to qualify for the US Olympic team. “It’s something that I still can’t get a grasp on.


“And yet, my times continue to drop consistently, and it seems like everything is falling into place. But when I think of the possibility of being on a relay team with someone like Michael Phelps, it’s unbelievable.”


Phelps is the world record-holder in the 200-meter freestyle and the face of American swimming. Lagerhausen (pronounced Log-er-hous-en) broke the WIAA state record in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 39.21 seconds) at last year’s Division 1 state meet and also won the 100 freestyle.


At the pre-Olympic qualifying time trials, Lagerhausen swam a 51-flat in the 100-meter freestyle to earn an automatic invitation to the U.S. Olympic trials. The U.S. Olympic trials will be in late June in Omaha, Neb., and Lagerhausen’s focus is on a specific time.


“I think it’s going to take a 49.3 or lower in the 100 free to at least earn on spot on the 4x100 relay team,” Lagerhausen said. “That’s my goal. If I can get down to that time, but still don’t make the team, then I’ll have something to shoot for in four years.”


The world record in the 100-meter freestyle is 47.84.


In the meantime, Lagerhausen is set to compete for the U.S. Junior National Team later this month in Australia. He was cleared for that competition by the WIAA before the high school season began.


The competition, Lagerhausen said, is similar to the Olympics with only the top U.S. junior swimmers selected to participate.


Swimming is still considered a southern sport, but not exclusively so. Indiana University dominated at the NCAA Division I level for years, and Phelps trains with the Michigan Wolverines.


With Lagerhausen’s impressive resume, obvious collegiate choices would have included tradition-rich schools such as Texas or Florida. Although the offers were there, Lagerhausen is staying home to compete for the University of Wisconsin.


Wisconsin is not a national power in men’s swimming, but Badger/Big Foot boys swim coach Glen Biller said the arrival of Lagerhausen may change that.


“Wes is going to have an immediate impact on that program,” Biller said. “He could’ve gone anywhere he wanted, but I really believe he wants to be part of something special at Wisconsin.


“I mean, this is a kid that has a chance to swim for his country at the Olympics. Even if he doesn’t make it this year, look out in four years.”


Lagerhausen’s physique is perfectly equipped for the pool. At 6-foot-3 with broad shoulders, huge hands and large feet, Biller said it’s like watching someone swim with flippers on.


Although Lagerhausen doesn’t get a lot of competition at the high school level, he relishes the opportunity to swim with his brother, Ellis, and his Badger/Big Foot teammates.


“Everyone on the team is like family,” Lagerhausen said. “And I think we’re good enough in a couple of the relays to break the state record. That would mean a lot to me.”


Obviously, an Olympic berth would, too.


Lagerhausen file

Pregame routine: Stretch out and get pumped up.


Best sports memory: Making the U.S. Olympic trials.


TV show I never miss: “Avatar.”


Favorite food: Tater tots.


Favorite pastime: Ball tag at the lake.


Favorite movie: “Zoolander.”


Most prized possession: Swim cap for USA.


Best invention the last 100 years: Video games.


Dream job: Swimmer/graphic design artist for Pixar.


If I could have one super power, it would be: Super speed.


If I could play any other sport, it would be: Ultimate Frisbee.


CD currently getting the most play: DragonForce—“Through Fire and Flames.”



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