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updated: 12/21/2013 9:15 PM

Lyons ends Marmion's 8-year run at Block Relays

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By Darryl Mellema
Daily Herald Correspondent

Relay meets like Marmion's Block Relays reward teams with exceptional depth -- and this year Lyons Township is a pretty deep boys swimming team.

The Lions used that depth to end Marmion's eight-year victory streak in the meet and claim a 142-120 victory over the Cadets in the 43rd version of this meet.

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"They just outswam us all day," Marmion coach Bill Schalz said. "The thing about this meet -- it's all about depth. Many of our relays, we were competing to win events, but we were just a guy short."

Marmion's day started roughly when its 200-yard medley relay was disqualified. Though they recovered, the Cadets struggled to keep pace with Lyons the rest of the morning.

"That kind of takes the wind out of your sails a bit," Schalz said. "But at the end of the day, they just had more depth than us and they're outswimming us."

Marmion won five of the meet's 12 events. Dan Creighton, Jack Fergus, Nick Kanute and Andrew Kasper breezed to victory by 11 seconds in the 400 medley relay. Luke Bajda, Mike Burke, Kasper and Joe Schuette won the 200 freestyle relay. Fergus, Kasper and Anthony Bliss won the 300 backstroke relay. Bajda, Burke, Kasper and Schuette won the 200 freestyle relay. Marmion also won the one-minute relay, a 200-yard freestyle race where the team closest to, but not over, one minute wins the event. Marmion finished third, but its 59.60 was the closest time under one minute.

"The guys that we need to do well, they've had good splits," Schalz said. "We've won a handful of relays. The thing is, we've got two guys on a relay and then our third swimmer is not quite as strong and we've run out of depth. Those freshmen and sophomores who swam, they'll get that experience in the next couple of years."

Saturday's meet comes one day after Marmion's final exams concluded and starts a two-week period of intensive training.

"I think it's a little early to tell how we are," Schalz said. "We'll know a lot more when we come out of Christmas break and we go to Evanston and Sandburg and get some racing in. The great thing about this meet, all the mental intensity from final exams is done and you can come out here and have some fun."

Benet scored 70 points and finished fourth in the six-team meet. The Redwings have a smaller squad, which hindered their chances in the team competition. But many swimmers gained needed experience.

"I think it was good," Benet coach Sarah Maggio said. "We got in and raced. These meets are mentally fun. But we still want to get in and race, and I was happy with how we did."

Benet's best finish came in the 400 freestyle relay, where Paddy Lawler, Stephen Spittler, Nick Michaels and Bram Williams finished second to Lyons.

"We want to come here and swim fast and compete," Maggio said. "Obviously we can't compete from top to bottom. But it's still good for us. It gives kids a chance to swim who otherwise wouldn't. We brought some freshmen and gave them a chance to see what this will be like for the future."

Schaumburg swam on Friday at Fremd before traveling to Aurora on Saturday morning. The Saxons finished fifth. The Saxons' Jack Pyde, Edin Latic, Sam Thomas and Sam Stucker were second in the 100 freestyle relay while Thomas, Odonys Sandoval, Evan Wahlen and Tyler Gustafson were second in the frosh-soph 400 freestyle relay.

"We did great," Schaumburg coach Paul Desruisseaux said. "We're a young team and we're a small team and we're trying new stuff. There's a whole bunch of sectional spots open and who knows who's going to swim what? Coming to a meet like this gives the kids a chance to swim a number of different things."

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