Homestead's Petersen aiming at state swim gold in backstroke, IM
Also part of medley relay
Though he turned in a spectacular time in the 200-yard freestyle in winning the event at the North Shore Conference meet the week before, Homestead junior swimmer Nick Petersen had bigger fish to fry.
So along with his current state-best time in the 100-yard backstroke, Petersen went after the 200 individual medley in the WIAA sectional meet at Nicolet on Saturday and came up with a time that currently sits third-best among all state meet qualifiers.
"It was always in the plans to switch to the IM," Highlandera coach Mark Gwidt said. "If you want to be known as the best swimmer, that's what you have to win."
Petersen, who will also leadoff the Highlanders' state qualifying 200 medley relay team that includes Whelan Callahan, Drew Miller and Sam Silver, makes his bid to be considered among the best when the WIAA Division 1 state meet is held at the UW-Madison Natatorium at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The school record-holder in the 100 backstroke, his sectional time of 51.32 is the center-lane fastest by 0.34 over Greenfield/Greendale's Rick Perez, and in the 200 IM, his clocking of 1:56.05 is about 2.2 seconds behind leader Jeremy Temprano of team favorite Madison Memorial.
Multi-time Homestead state champion Scott Mueller has the school record in the IM at 1:51-plus.
The medley relay swims in the opening heat of three of its event.
Petersen, who did not take part in high school swimming last year, won three WIAA medals as a freshmen, earning a fourth in the 100 butterfly, a third in the backstroke and a fourth as part of the 200 medley relay.
His efforts at the sectional led the Highlanders to a seventh-place showing in the 11-team meet with 203 points, as Cedarburg won with 351.
In the backstroke, he was 0.73 of a second clear of West Bend's Matt McHugh and in the IM he was 1.62 seconds ahead of Brookfield's Brian Borden.
Hopes are very high for Petersen.
"He's happy with his backstroke," Gwidt said, "and he's not rested or shaved yet. He knows what's in front of him in that race and in the IM he's ready to fly."
The 200 medley relay earned its spot after turning in a 1.75 second season best of 1:42.51, good for fourth. The 400 free relay team of Sylvester Schulties, Drew Miller, John Happ and Petersen turned in a four-plus second season best of 3:23.19, good for fifth but it was 0.7 of a second away from advancing to state.
Overall, Gwidt was pleased with the sectional efforts.
"It would have been nice to get that 400 relay through, but all the other times were in-season bests for everyone," he said. "It was a great season for everyone. We had a good group of seniors who did a great job this winter."
Other noteworthy efforts at sectional included the following: 200 free: Happ, eighth (1:57.64); 50 free: Silver, 11th (23.81); Connor Knuth, 12th (23.91); 100 free: Schulties, 12th (52.36); 500 free: Miller, 10th (5:16.19); 200 free relay: Silver, Callahan, Happ and Knuth, eighth (1:35.67); 100 backstroke: Schulties, eighth (59.83); Kyle Slamann, 10th (1:01.86); 100 breast stroke: Callahan, fifth (1:03.89); Andrew Denee, 10th (1:07.13).
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