Mundelein senior Connor Black was recently selected to the National Junior Team for USA Swimming.
It is the same type as the National Olympic Team, but for swimmers under age 18. The team will compete in meets in locations throughout the world. Olympian Matt Grevers of Lake Forest was on this team when he was in high school.
Black has had a number of successes in recent months which contributed to this latest accolade. He took second place in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles in the IHSA state competition held in Evanston last winter. He was part of a relay team that finished second, as well. In August, in the men's 100-meter butterfly at the Junior Nationals Championships, Black, representing the Cats Aquatic Team, lowered his meet record from 53.21 to 53.16, for a victory. He missed Trials for the Olympics by .02 seconds.
Black's love of swimming began early on about the age of 9 while taking swim lessons with his dad. At age 10, he already began winning swimming competitions and has continued throughout high school on the swimming and water polo teams and through his participation in Cats Aquatics, a swim club based in Libertyville and Vernon Hills.
When he isn't competing or practicing, Black serves as a volunteer peer coach for Libertyville Stars, a swim club that takes part in USA Swimming and the Special Olympics.
After graduating from Mundelein next spring, Black hopes to continue swimming at the collegiate level and major in engineering. His list for potential colleges includes Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia and Stanford. He plans to visit all of these in the near future.
In addition to his dad, Black attributes much of his success to his coaches. Those include Rahul Sethna and Russ Gates at Mundelein, and Vlad Pyshnenko at Cats Aquatics.
"They have all worked together to help me develop and get where I am now," he said.
While others might be satisfied with these accomplishments, Black has set high goals for his final year of high school.
"I hope to win state this year in the 100 fly and to place in the top 12 in two relays," he said.
And then it will be on to collegiate swimming with plenty more records to break.