With six individual entries per event and three relay entries as well, Libertyville boys swimming coach Bob Groseth was able to give plenty of opportunities for his team to swim both its normal events as well as some alternatives in Saturday's St. Charles North Invitational.
The Wildcates fared well in that format, finishing third in a competitive meet won by Barrington, which defeated St. Charles North 252-206 for the title. Libertyville battled the host North Stars throughout the meet but finished 9 points back in third place.
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"I thought we were pretty good," Groseth said. "We swam some off-events. I kind of gave them their choice. We've had a lot of meets like this and tough dual meets where they guys haven't had a chance to swim different events. So we gave them a chance and tried to do well on the relays."
Libertyville won one event, the 200-yard medley relay, when Alex Snarski, Bobby Snader, Matt Harrington and Justin Fu swam 1:39.94.
"We didn't have our absolute best relays in there either," Groseth said. "I'm overall pretty happy with the way they swam. I think now our preparation is going to be for the conference meet and then hopefully to get a lot of guys ready for the state meet."
Some invitationals Libertyville has participated in have allowed only two entries per event, which limits participation in a meet, though that format has its strengths as well.
"I definitely like meets like this," Groseth said. "We went to the Stevenson meet with 12 guys. We have 50 guys on the team and that's not fair to a lot of the other guys. I like meets like this because we were able to bring our whole varsity team."
Time is running out for swimmers to make an impact before the February postseason begins with the North Suburban Conference meet and culminating with the IHSA State meet.
"We had some of the younger guys do well," Groseth said. "In the 100 breast, Mark Boynton, who's a sophomore, ended up getting sixth and he dropped his time. He's been going 1:08-1:09 and he went a 1:06. I think it's good for the older guys who have been doing the hard work to see these guys drop some time. It gives them the confidence that they will drop time at the end of the season."
Groseth said preparation now becomes individual even as the team continues its group preparation.
"We have to figure out a strategy for each one of them," Groseth said. "We need a strategy that's going to enable us to do well at the conference meet and then to be able to go to the sectional and do well and then to get through what we need to get through at the state meet. We have some guys who will taper for the state meet and some who will taper for the sectional to get them through. And still others will taper for the conference meet."