Even though it finished way back in the pack in the team standings at Saturday's Red Devil Invitational at Hinsdale Central, the Glenbard West/South co-op swimmers produced several highlights that demonstrate that the future looks bright for a team in only its second year of existence.
Leading the way for Glenbard was a pair of swimmers who are both candidates to qualify for the state meet and who form the nucleus of some pretty promising freestyle relay teams.
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Senior Ben Shaver finished sixth in the 100 freestyle, and sophomore Michael Hsu was seventh in the 200 IM. The duo was joined by Matt Wenta and Blake Maroney on the 200 free relay, and then Shaver, Hsu and Wenta combined with freshman Timo Curtis to finish the day on a high note with the sixth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
"These were some of my best swims of the season," Shaver said. "And the relay swims showed that our team is getting better. We definitely proved we can hold our own against some quality teams who are at the level that we're trying to reach."
"The kids are building confidence, which is good," said Glenbard assistant coach Tim Jenkins. "Today was a good indicator of where we are and what we need to do. The kids raced hard every time."
Shaver did well even though he swam his off events. At sectionals he'll be competing in the 100 backstroke and the 200 IM.
"I think I have a chance to make state," Shaver said. "Hsu has an outside shot this year, but is definitely promising for the future. And Curtis and Wenta are two more to keep an eye on. As a team, our best shot to make state is the 400 free relay."
The invite was a showdown between last year's top two teams in Illinois, defending state champion New Trier and host Hinsdale Central, which finished second.
Warren, Mundelein and Addison Trail/Willowbrook co-op were other top 20 state finishers at the invite.
The Trevians once again won the battle with 453.50 points to runner-up Hinsdale Central's 331.
Hinsdale Central won both the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle relays and came in second 3:13.94 to 3:14.29 just behind the Trevians in the 400 freestyle relay.
"The 400 free relay was a good race," said Hinsdale Central coach Corky King. "We did well in the relays today and it would have been fun to win the third, but New Trier is good."
King thought the difference between the two teams at this point in the season is that New Trier has superior depth.
"We have to step it up for state," King said. "But that's our goal anyway. We want to give it a shot to be one of the guys who go for the top spots at state. We were solid all day today. We're in good shape."