Janesville80.5°

Milton swimmer is reworking the final scene

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JOHN N. BARRY
February 18, 2010
— Jeff Maxwell’s toughest critic is himself.

So it should come as no surprise that as much as it pains him, Maxwell has watched the video of last year’s 500 freestyle race in WIAA Division 2 too many times to count.


It’s an entertaining video until that little part at the end where Maxwell is edged out for a state title by a mere two-tenths of a second.


“Every time I watch it, I realize it came down to the fact that I just didn’t swim my own race,” said Maxwell, whose time of 4:39.39 was just behind Graham Thoresen’s winning time of 4:39.16 for McFarland. “That won’t happen this year.


“I’ve worked too hard and put in too much extra practice to make sure it won’t happen again.”


Maxwell, a senior at Milton High, is the top seed in the 500 freestyle heading into Friday’s Division 2 state meet at the UW Natatorium in Madison. The UW-Milwaukee recruit also will swim in the 200 individual medley, along with the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays, but the 500 is at the top of the list.


Maxwell has the No. 1 seed by almost 16 seconds and will be looking for his second state title in the event in the last three years.


“I’ve got a time in mind, but I’m not going to say what it is,” said Maxwell. “But I will say that I’ve set the bar pretty high for myself.”


The Division 2 state record in the 500 freestyle is 4:32.44, set by Austin Ramiriez of Brookfield Central in 1995.


“I’ve put in between 50,000 and 100,000 more yards this past year to get ready,” Maxwell said. “And this is my last high school meet.”


Maxwell holds eight Milton school records and two Milton pool records.


Longtime Milton boys and girls swim coach Tom Lieder said Maxwell has been “the franchise” since he first began making waves as a freshman.


“For me to coach a kid like Jeff has been a real joy because they seem to only come around about once a decade,” Lieder said.


“I’ve been doing this a long time, and to be honest, I think there are times when I think Jeff knows more about swim than I do. He’s constantly learning and trying to get better.”


In the 200 individual medley, Maxwell’s qualifying time of 1:58.76 is second-fastest behind McFarland’s Ryan O’Donnell (1:57.04).


Maxwell is not the only area swimmer looking for a second Division 2 state title. Delavan-Darien’s Alex Riegert is the defending champion in the 100 breaststroke and the top seed this year. The senior won with a time of 57.93 a year ago and has his sights on the Division 2 state record of 56.62 set by Derrick O’Donnell of McFarland in 2006.


Riegert also will swim in the 100 freestyle, where his qualifying time of 49.28 is fifth fastest.


Fort Atkinson has the most entrants of any area schools. The Blackhawks qualified in seven events for the Division 2 meet, including four events each for sophomore Wyatt Paul and junior Evan Hill.


Whitewater’s Drew Kuchan will be the first Whippet boy to swim at the state meet when he competes in the 100 butterfly in the Division 2 meet.



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