Last year, the Waunakee boys’ swim team sent a pair of swimmers to the WIAA State Meet.
In 2020, that number will be doubled. Four Warrior swimmers will represent Waunakee at the UW-Madison Natatorium on Saturday, where they’ll swim in a total of five races. The Warriors earned their spots at last Saturday’s WIAA Sectional Meet in Middleton.
WIAA Sectional (Middleton)
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to earn their first qualifying event. In the first race of the day – the 200 medley relay – the Warriors shaved nearly a second off their seed time to finish in 1:40.30. Waunakee’s quartet of Zach Vinson, Nolan Wallace, Luke Kobza and Paul Busse finished in sixth place: good enough to earn a spot at state.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Busse of making it to the UW-Madison Natatorium for the first time. “It was a goal of mine starting out the year.”
For Vinson, it was the first of four races that qualified. He earned a pair of spots in individual races, highlighted by a victory in the 100 backstroke; Vinson’s time of 53.23 bested the field by nearly half a second. His second individual qualifier was the 100 butterfly, where he placed fifth in 52.88.
Joining Vinson as an individual qualifier was Kobza in the 500 freestyle. Kobza’s finish of 4:51.31 cut over seven seconds off his seed time to place fourth overall.
Waunakee’s final event to earn a spot on Saturday was the last race of the day: the 400 freestyle relay. The same quartet of Kobza, Busse, Wallace and Vinson took sixth in 3:20.73.
For Vinson, this marks the third straight year he’ll be finishing his season at state. Having relay teammates, he said, makes this year’s trip easier to prepare for.
“Being in a relay is a lot easier; you have people to help you out getting mentally and physically ready…” Vinson said. “It’s easier to get more hyped up and psyched for my races because I have friends to support me.”
The Warriors have some goals set for their final meet of the season, with one record in particular for which they’re hoping to set a new school record.
“We’re eyeballing the medley relay for sure,” said Vinson, referencing the 1:39.09 time set in 2018. “We’re going to work at it this week and see what we can do.”
Start time at the UW-Madison Natatorium is scheduled for 3 p.m.