It was a battle until the end for third place between Lake Park and Wheaton co-op Saturday at the Downers Grove North boys swimming sectional.
The Lancers' prevailed by one-half point, 182 to 181.5, thanks to their victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event of the day.
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However, team results in sectional competition don't have the weight that the actual number of state qualifiers a school has achieved has. A sectional meet is all about being good enough and fast enough to keep your season going another week.
And Lake Park and Wheaton co-op will each be sending a group to this year's state meet that starts Friday at Evanston High School.
The Lancers qualified in five events, including two relays; Wheaton co-op qualified in six events, including two relays, and Wheaton Academy advanced a swimmer.
Lake Park's Sean Gregor is headed to his fourth state meet. He began the day by winning the 200 freestyle in 1:43.43, just more than two seconds faster than the state-qualifying time. He later made it in the 100 freestyle in 47.54.
"I'm pleased with the 200 (time). The 100 isn't where it should be, but I have another shot at it next week," he said.
Teammate Mitchell Carzoli missed out on making it in the 50 freestyle, but his 47.70 in the 100 freestyle put him on the state track.
"With the 50 you make one mistake and you're done. With the 100 you can make a couple of mistakes and still get a good time," he said.
Gregor and Carzoli joined Kevin Siciak and Eric Sgarbossa in winning both the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.
The sectional meet began Saturday morning with the diving competition, and Lake Park's Jack Reily is headed to Evanston by winning the event with 425.25 points.
Wheaton started Saturday by qualifying in the meet's first event, the 200 medley relay, in 1:37.28 thanks to Max St. George, Evan Sheriff, Tommy Reminger and Matt Rogers. Rogers, Reminger, Peter Hummel and St. George advanced the 400 freestyle relay in 3:14.36. Between the relays St. George and Rogers each qualified in two individual events each and Reminger made it in one. St. George won the 200 IM in 1:55.24 and won the 100 backstroke in 51.51.
"I'm happy with my times. Everyone on the team did well," St. George said.
The state-qualifying time to equal or surpass in the 100 freestyle is 48.01. When Rogers looked up after finishing his heat in the event, he saw his time of exactly 48.01.
"I saw the guy in the lane next to meet just squeak by me and I knew I was close. I looked at the board and was estatic," Rogers said.
He also made it in the 100 backstroke in 52.93. Reminger knocked off just over 11 seconds off his seed time to place second in the 500 freestyle and advance thanks to a 4:43.58. Wheaton Academy's Tyler Sesvold is going to state for the first time by finishing the 100 backstroke in 53.35.
"I went up a little with time, but I felt good and I didn't taper," Sesvold said.
Hinsdale Central won the meet with 266 points with Lyons Township placing second at 241.