Alex Snarski continues to swim faster.
And if the Libertyville senior does so again today, he likely will be a state champion.
Snarski cut nearly a second off his sectional time in the 100-yard backstroke on the first day of the boys swimming and diving state meet at Evanston on Friday. He touched in 48.67, which was nearly a full second faster than any other swimmer in the event.
"I had my best time," the Northwestwern-bound Snarski said. "I've just gotten faster. I had a good taper."
Snarski and his teammates are in strong position to capture a state trophy (top three), which would be a first for the Wildcats.
"It's a pretty big deal," Snarski said.
A year ago, the Wildcats took fourth place and went home without a trophy. Today, all three Wildcats relays will be back for a second day of racing. Snarski's teammate Matt Harrington is also in the mix in 100 butterfly. He finished second in his race (48.74).
The 200 medley team of Snarski, Harrington, Bobby Snader and Justin Fu swam the fastest time (1:32.80).
"Our team did great," Harrington said. "We'll be ready to go (today)."
Libertyville coach Bob Groseth is feeling good about his team's chances today.
"It helps to have all three relays going," Groseth said. "I think we are right in there with Hinsdale Central."
There are other Lake County swimmers who qualified for a second day of swimming. Mundelein's Ayrton Kasemets is in the hunt in both the 200 individual medley and his specialty, the 100 breaststroke. He'll compete for a state title in the breaststroke after his time of 56.90 was the fourth-fastest. He qualified 11th in the 200 IM.
"I put all my effort into the 200 IM," Kasemets said. "After that, a huge weight was lifted from me. I still think a title (in the 100 breaststroke) is within my reach. It's just whoever has the best race."
"There is so much pressure just to get in," Mundelein coach Rahul Sethna said. "Now he'll get in a good lane and do his best racing."
Grayslake Central's Pete Olszewski, a diver in high school, helped coach Rams senior Kirk Dickson at state since Grayslake Central does not have a team.
"I knew Kirk and thought that I would love to help," Olszewski said.
Dickson settled for 25th place in the 100 backstroke in his final race in high school.
There was a little better news from Grayslake. It came from Grayslake North swimmer Brenden Bolman, who will swim the consolation race in the 50 free after his 21.54 clocking placed him 11th.
Stevenson's Nick Koto was 11th in the 200 free (1:43.03). His Patriots teammate Allen Feng just missed a swim in the championship heat, as he was seventh in the 100 backstroke (51.08). Feng was also 15th in 100 butterfly.
Warren's two relay teams did not fare well.
"It was not our best meet," Warren senior Garrett Zenner said. "But we got here and that was our goal."
Warren's Ashwin Sanzgiri was 26th in the 50 free (22.00)
Lake County's top performer in diving was Mundelein's Kevin Franz. He was 23rd (165.05).
Maybe the top race today will be between teammates Harrington and Snarski. Harrington is seeded second in the 100 butterfly, while Snarski is fourth (49.44).