The setting for this Mid-Suburban West boys swimming dual was plenty familiar for Paul Desruisseaux.
A standout senior on Fremd's 1995 state championship team, he returned to his old pool Friday in a different capacity -- as the opposing team's head coach.
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Desruisseaux is in charge at Schaumburg, and for his young team, winning this particular meet wasn't the focus. Instead, getting good races and seeing overall progress was the priority.
And in that respect, Desruisseaux had an ally.
Kristen Newby also competed at Fremd, just after Desruisseaux had graduated, but was happy to extend some old-school courtesies.
Newby, Fremd's head coach, worked with Desruisseaux to see that certain swimmers from opposing teams were paired up with competitive races in mind.
Fremd still had the upper hand, winning 97-84, but it changed the spirit of the meet.
"I can't thank Kristen enough for working with me," said Desruisseaux. "It really made a big difference for my team."
Especially for swimmers such as Jack Pyde, a Schaumburg junior. His main competitor in the 100-meter free, Fremd's Joey Carlisle, won in 1:00.06. Pyde's time of 1:03.80 was a two-second drop from his previous best -- which was only last week.
The learning curve is sharp at Schaumburg this year, and Desruisseaux aims to keep it that way. His swimmers get immediate feedback on deck after their races, along with plenty of encouragement.
"I like it that way," Pyde said. "You're just more into it right after a race, so I think it's easier to make sense of it."
Fremd, meanwhile, showed plenty of lineup versatility.
Sophomore Andrew Mueller took top honors in the 400 free (4:44.53) and 100 back (1:11.85), Joe Mayer won the 100 fly and Carlisle also won the 200 IM (2:25.54). Nick Pappas won the 200 free (2:10.67) and Austin Yurasek won the 50 free (26.7).
Newby split up the top swimmers on all her relays, providing some built-in motivation as teammates vied for top performances.
"I like our enthusiam," said Newby. "We're swimming really tired right now, but that emotion, it's got to be there."
Among the Schaumburg breakthrough swims were a 4-second drop from Fabian Sandoval in the 200 IM (2:41.65) and senior captain Dan Skiroock's second-place finish in the 400 free (4:4:48.88).
"I'm asking these guys to do things they've never done before," said Desruisseaux. "We're swimming four mornings a week -- that's new for us. I need to keep that in mind and be positive, to always provide encouragement. I know they'll respond."
Skiroock, for one, certainly has. He surprised both his coach and himself with his effort in the 400, a much longer race than he usually swims. And his times in his more familiar sprints are already approaching career bests.
"It's definitely harder this year," Skiroock said with a grin. "We're more tired -- but at the same time, it's also more fun."
In one final extension of good will, Fremd classified several of its competitors in the final races as exhibition swims. That provided winning points for Saxons frosh Sam Thomas in the 100 breast (1:17.61) and also the 400 free relay of Skiroock, Michael Walsh, Tyler Gustafson and Paul Zakariya, which tightened up the final score a bit.
Newby, asked if she and Desruisseaux might have learned similar lessons from their days as Fremd competitors, summed it up this way: "Sure -- give it everything you've got. Swimming is hard."
Rolling Meadows 97, Buffalo Grove 89: As nearly as Rolling Meadows coach Monika Chiappetta can tell, history was made Friday.
The host Mustangs topped the Bison for the first time in a dual meet. Or at least, in recorded history.
"I knew we hadn't beaten them in my 16 years," said Chiappetta, "and I had my team managers stop looking at about 30 years ago."
Rolling Meadows had a 2-point lead entering the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Mustangs' Kuba Debkowski, Joey Ure, Jake Barson and Filip Pancerz turned in a season-best time by about six seconds, winning in 3:29.88.
Barson won the 200 IM (2:10.30) and 100 breast (1:05.20), and David Myers won the 200 free (1:58.83) and 500 free (5:29.14). Debkowski won the 50 free (23.44) and tied with BG's Zach Augustyn in the 100 free at 52.47. Ryan Smith, Tim McDonough, Ure and Debkowski teamed up for an important Meadows win in the 200 free relay (1:36.06).
Buffalo Grove had a win from KC Lotzer in the 100 fly (56.87) and from the medley relay of Brandon Hausfeld, Chris Schulstad, Lotzer and Augustyn.
"It was a great meet -- back and forth the whole way," Chiappetta said. "All week, we were talking about trying to create a new era for Rolling Meadows swimming.
"My guys were completely into it, totally engaged. I mean, they were keeping score of the meet themselves."
Palatine 116, Conant 68: Marcus Carter-Buckman and Jordan Kalina both won a pair of races apiece to help the visiting Pirates past the Cougars.
Carter-Buckman was tops in the 200-meter freestyle (2:03.83) and 400 free (4:30.12), while Kalina won the 200 IM (2:27.98) and 100 free (59.32). Other Pirates winners included Arnas Maciunas in the 100 fly (1:07.14), Alex Bartosik in the 100 back (1:06.41) and Olav Korniychuk in the 100 breast (1:17.76).
Conant's Kodey Visitacion won the 50 free in 27.62.
Prospect 120, Elk Grove 64: The host Knights remained unbeaten in the Mid-Suburban East with a decisive win over the Grenadiers.
Among the winners with impressive times for the Knights were Michael Morikado in the 100-yard fly (55.13) and 200 free (1:54.98), Nathanael Ginnodo in the 100 breast (1:02.76) and Sam Gabriel in the 100 back (57.04).
Elk Grove's Colin Williams won the 200 IM (2:04.23), the 100 free (50.04) and had a leg on the Grens' winning 400 free relay with Krystian Szczepaniak, Chris Doruff and Alex Pauls (3:33.30).