March 30, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - -On Saturday evening in Indianapolis, Madison native Drew teDuits did something no Wisconsin male swimmer had done in 54 years - win a national title.
"Growing up in Madison, it's been my dream to do something great for the University of Wisconsin," teDuits said following his win in the 200-yard backstroke.
On the final day of the NCAA Championships, the sophomore took home the Badgers' first crown since 1959 with a dominating performance in the 200-yard backstroke.
"I just kind of went out there and let my training take over," teDuits said. "I didn't really think about it at all. I just wanted to do what I trained to do."
teDuits' time of 1:38.27 is the third-fastest in NCAA history in the 200-yard backstroke and smashes his previous school record set last month by over a second and a half. teDuits beat Stanford's David Nolan on Saturday by over a second in the event en route to first-team all-america honors.
"With Drew, you never really doubt him, because as crazy as it kind of seems, he did it," Hite said. "When he told this morning he was going to go 1:38, the logical part of my brain is thinking, `Good Lord, that is so fast. That's ridiculous.' But then you just say, OK Drew, just do it. Because there is a chance that he can. And it doesn't really make sense a lot of times, but here we are. Just unbelievable."
Wisconsin's last individual NCAA champion was Fred Westphal. The title came so many years ago that when Westphal won the 1959 title in the 50-yard freestyle, he did so after a season's-worth of training at the pool in the old Armory and Gymnasium on Langdon Street. The only other individual crown came before Memorial Union was completed on campus - a 1927 title in the 200-yard breaststroke for Winston Kratz.
"We're moving in the right direction," Hite said. "We just hope it won't take another fifty-some years to get another title. It's a process and I couldn't be more proud of the guys on the team."
teDuits' title, along with two other top-15 finishes for Wisconsin Saturday boosted the Badgers to a 13th-place finish in the NCAA Championships-the program's best performance since a 13th-place effort in 2003 and the fifth-best finish in school history.
"It is a big step," Hite said of the team's finish. "It's a step in the right direction. We're moving forward and we have great people coming in. We're losing some great seniors, but the future is bright for our program. Certainly I was hoping for success like this, and we kind of exceeded my expectations."
The team's 84 points were also the most since 105 scored in 2003. All four previous season-best finishes in school history came before 1970.
Wisconsin's 13th-place finish was fourth-best in the Big Ten, behind NCAA Champions Michigan as well as Indiana and Ohio State. Michigan won the 2013 crown with 480 points. Last season, the Badgers finished 27th at the NCAA Championship with 19 points.
"We had eight guys at the meet, and every single one of them fought hard for Wisconsin," Hite said. "Just a super proud moment."
Meanwhile, Senior Dan Lester capped off a phenomenal career at Wisconsin on Saturday with a thrilling performance as well. The Australia native earned first team all-america honors with a 7th-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly.
Lester's time of 1:43.60 was the second- fastest in school history, behind only his own program record. Cal's Tom Shields broke an NCAA record to win the event in a time of 1:39.65-also tying Michael Phelps' American record.
Sophomore Nick Schafer earned honorable mention all-american honors for his 13th-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:56.18). The time is the fourth-best this year for Wisconsin.
The Badgers finished the weekend with eight all-america performances among four swimmers-including four first-team all-america honors.
"As I told the team, enjoy this and next year starts tomorrow," Hite said. "We'll be back at it and fighting to be better."
2013 Wisconsin NCAA All-America Honors:
Michael Weiss: 500-yard freestyle
Michael Weiss: 400-yard individual medley
Drew teDuits: 200-yard backstroke
Daniel Lester: 200-yard butterfly
Daniel Lester: 200-yard individual medley
Daniel Lester: 100-yard butterfly
Drew teDuits: 100-yard backstroke
Nicholas Schafer: 200-yard breaststroke
Best finishes in Wisconsin men's history all-time at the NCAA Championships:
1. 1960: 9th place
2. 1968: 10th place
3. 1966: 11th place
4. 1958: 11th place
5. 2013: 13th place
2003: 13th place
1950: 13th place
8. 1970: 14th place
1954: 14th place
10. 1967: 15th place