MADISON – Maxwell Boehnlein stuck with Paul DeLakis on Saturday, he just couldn’t beat him.
But Boehnlein, a Neenah High School senior, wasn’t about to complain.
Boehnlein’s second-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke highlighted a solid day for the Rockets at the WIAA Division 1 state swimming and diving championships at the UW Natatorium.
Boehnlein finished with a time of 55.64 seconds in the breaststroke, while Eau Claire Memorial/North’s DeLakis won the event with a state-record time of 54.08 seconds.
“Racing Paul was great,” Boehnlein said. “I’ve never been that close to him. I dropped a second and a half off my best time and I stuck with him for basically the entire race. That made me so happy. It was such a great race. I’m glad I was able to do that.
“I knew I was really going to have to step up everything. He’s so tall. He killed me underwater. But I stuck with him on the surface. He just has that bigger body. He’s a lot taller and stronger. I’m a lot shorter than him. But I was pretty close to him, so I can’t complain. It was good.”
DeLakis also beat Boehnlein in the 200 individual medley, one of four first-place finishes for the Eau Claire senior. DeLakis won the IM with a record time of 1:46.18, while Boehnlein was fourth in 1:53.25.
“I dropped a second and a half,” Boehnlein said. “I took fourth, so I can’t really complain. I had a best time. It was a good race. It didn’t feel like all of my strokes felt the best. Some of my strokes were off and some were better. But, I mean, I can’t complain. I had a good time.”
Matt Wilke of Appleton North/East finished second in diving with a score of 483.10. Brandon Spencer of Kenosha Tremper won the title with 508.20.
“Obviously I wanted to get first and that didn’t happen, but I’m OK with that,” Wilke said. “I think I did pretty well. I think that’s the most important part, even if I didn’t place first, is being happy with my personal performance.”
Wilke didn’t watch Spencer during the meet, but did see him during warm-ups and knew he would be tough to beat.
“I watched a few of his dives and they were really, really good and that kind of got to me a little bit,” Wilke said. “He had a great meet. He definitely deserved first. I think that it was definitely a fair meet.”
Evan Bredesen of Neenah finished 13th in diving with a 345.00 score. Jackson Tutt of Appleton North/East also competed in the diving but didn’t advance past the preliminaries after scoring 153.15.
Eli Rocke of Neenah placed fifth in the 50 freestyle in 21.54 seconds and was eighth in the 100 freestyle in 47.40 seconds.
Neenah placed eighth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:28.05 with the team of Boehnlein, Aiden Clark, Jan-Mikael Werninger and Rocke.
Neenah’s 400 freestyle relay team of Rocke, Clark, Werninger and Boehnlein also finished eighth in 3:12.74.
“I’m glad the relays did good,” Boehnlein said. “We went a little bit faster in the 200 free relay. Everybody played a role. The 400 free relay everybody was a little slower, but it’s OK. We still did good. It was a good day for everyone.”
Clark also finished 21st in the 200 IM in 2:01.53 and was 22nd in the 100 backstroke in 56.47 seconds.
Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial won the team championship with 246 points, with Madison Memorial second with 216. Neenah placed 10th with 105 and Appleton North/East was 23rd with 17.