Spartans dive in
Seniors Andrew Eisenmann and Mason Morris and sophomore Dan Lewandowski are all scheduled to compete in the WIAA Boys Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison. The Division 1 diving competition begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the swimming events follow at 3 p.m.
Eisenmann will compete in the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle. Morris and Lewandowski will both compete in 1-meter diving.
George Lehman, head coach of the boys swimming and diving team, said this is the first time in almost a decade that Superior has sent two divers to the state meet.
“Our two divers came on strong at the end of the season,” he said. “You have to be kind of a risk-taker to be a diver, and most days they feel like taking risks.”
Morris is making his second consecutive trip to the state competition. He qualified this year with a season-best score of 341.95 at the Hudson sectional meet, but he doubted he would make the cut until his final series of dives.
“I went into the last round with a low score, but then on my last three dives I scored 102 points,” Morris said.
Lewandowski followed a similar path at the sectional meet. He struggled with his early dives and almost fell off the board at one point, he said.
“Once I messed up in the first three, I had really low confidence and didn’t expect to go to state,” he said. “After that my goal was to beat my fellow diver, and I guess that’s what brought my scores up a lot.”
Lewandowski echoed Morris’ strong finish and ended up one place behind his senior counterpart with a score of 325.55, his career best.
“Halfway through the meet I wasn’t expecting to go to state,” Lewandowski said. “I guess I just saved it with my last three dives.”
The sophomore said chasing Morris gave him the push he needed to make the cut for state, and he hopes to keep pace with his teammate again in Madison.
“It’s my first time so I’m not so much worried, it’s more getting to know it for years to come,” Lewandowski said.
Morris heads to state with a clear idea of what to expect.
“It will help me know which dives to start off with and to finish with,” Morris said. “It’s not as much pressure because I know what’s coming.”
Morris said he’s thrown a few new dives into the mix this season, including a forward two-and-a-half and a back one-and-a-half with a half twist. At state, he’s hoping to place in the top 16.
In the pool, Eisenmann is making his second straight trip to state in the 100 freestyle and his first trip in the 50 freestyle.
“I’m not really that nervous. I’m more excited and anxious,” Eisenmann said.
The senior doesn’t think competing in two events at state will add more physical strain, but he does anticipate a greater challenge mentally.
“Just because I have more to do at the actual state meet,” he said.
Eisenmann has moved up Superior’s all-time lists this season in both freestyle disciplines, and Lehman said the senior has developed into a strong sprinter.
Eisenmann was 11th on Superior’s all-time list in the 50-yard race last year, and he currently stands at sixth. In the 100 freestyle, Eisenmann has moved up from sixth place to fifth.
“Everyone asked me if I was going to go back to state, and I said, ‘Hopefully,’” Eisenmann said. “I guess ‘hopefully’ happened.”
At state, Eisenmann is looking for a time right around 22 seconds in the 50 freestyle and something in the lower 48-second range in the 100 freestyle.
Muskego senior Jon Roberts is the top qualifier in the 50-yard race with a time of 21.48 seconds. In the 100-yard freestyle, senior Andrew Lindstrom of Madison West is the only swimmer under 47 seconds, with a qualifying time of 46.90 seconds.
SPARTAN SPIN: Lewandowski has been diving for the Spartans since joining the team as a freshman, but he developed many of his skills earlier, during his years as a snowboarder.
“I’ve been a snowboarder since fifth grade, so flipping and spinning was kind of my thing,” Lewandowski said. The two sports are very similar in the air, he said, so his biggest challenge has been perfecting his entries into the water.
“He’s done pretty good this year,” said Morris, who was a gymnast before he began diving. “He’s a lot better than I was my 10th-grade year, for sure.”