University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point tries for an 18th straight title at this weekend's Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Men's Swimming & Diving Championship (presented by Culver's) in Brown Deer.
Competition in the three-day championship begins Thursday (Feb. 16) and concludes Saturday (Feb. 18) at the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center. Sessions will be held at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday (Feb. 17) and at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
UW-Oshkosh is serving as the host institution for the 55th men's championship that will be held concurrently with the 46th women's championship.
UW-Stevens Point collected the 20th league championship in program history a season ago with 916.5 points. The Pointer men easily surpassed UW-Whitewater's second-place total of 742.5 points and UW-Eau Claire's third-place score of 594. UW-La Crosse finished fourth in the five-team meet with 563 points and UW-Oshkosh fifth with 221.
This year's championship features 18 student-athletes who have combined to win 23 individual and 31 relay first-place medals at previous league meets.
UW-Stevens Point junior Sam Jekel is the most decorated returnee with five individual and seven relay championships to his credit. He posted back-to-back first-place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay at the 2014 and 2015 championships. In 2015, he added titles in the 100-yard butterfly and 400-yard medley relay.
Sophomore Nate Somers was named Swimmer of the Meet at last year's championship after emerging with titles in the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles and the 800-yard freestyle relay for the Pointers.
Junior Jack Englehardt is the defending champion in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. He also contributed to the Pointers' first-place 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relay teams a year ago.
Senior Andrew King has won three straight 200-yard freestyle relay titles along with two consecutive 400-yard freestyle relay crowns. He helped the Pointers' 200-yard medley relay foursome to victory in 2014 and 2015.
Senior Ethan Bott and sophomore Grant Moser are the defending champions in the 200-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly, respectively. Moser and junior Garrett Richetto also helped the Pointers' 800-yard freestyle relay team to victory in 2016 while Bott swam on the first-place 400-yard medley relay at the 2015 championship.
At last year's meet, UW-Stevens Point sophomore Reilly Donnellan contributed to the triumphant 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relay teams. He was joined on the 200-yard medley relay quartet by junior Brandon Richardson.
Junior Evan Catani won the 1,650-yard freestyle for the Pointers at the 2014 and 2015 championships while adding a victory in the 400-yard individual medley in 2015.
UW-Whitewater senior Josh Kanute is the two-time defending champion in the 200-yard freestyle. At the 2015 championship, he was selected Swimmer of the Meet after adding titles in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard butterfly and 800-yard freestyle relay. Kanute captured the 500-yard freestyle in 2014 and was joined on the Warhawks' victorious 800-yard freestyle relay team in 2015 by senior Alex Gidlow.
UW-Eau Claire senior Ben Fisher has won back-to-back titles in the 100-yard breaststroke while junior Dayton Miller strives for his second straight first-place finish in the 400-yard individual medley and senior Ryan Young is the defending champion in the 200-yard butterfly. Fisher, Young and junior Logan Coert also contributed to the Blugolds' first-place 400-yard medley relay last season.
UW-La Crosse senior Jackson Uselman was a member of the triumphant 800-yard freestyle relay team in 2014.
Casper enters the championship ranked 20th in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes with times of 1:02.33 and 2:25.00, respectively, while Solomon lists 20th in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly with times of 54.97 seconds and 2:07.51, respectively.
Hilgendorf ranks 10th and Armitage 11th in the 1,650-yard freestyle with times of 18:24.27 and 18:31.07, respectively, while Sobolewski ranks 19th in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:53.08.
UW-Eau Claire owns a league-best 25 WIAC championships while UW-Stevens Point follows with 20, UW-La Crosse and UW-Platteville with four apiece and UW-Milwaukee with one.