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updated: 3/2/2014 12:36 AM

Marmion takes 11th at state

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  • Steven Tan of Illinois Math and Science Academy waves from the award stand after finishing first in the 100-yard butterfly at state Saturday.

       Steven Tan of Illinois Math and Science Academy waves from the award stand after finishing first in the 100-yard butterfly at state Saturday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Anchor Collin Bawolek of St. Charles North leaves the starting block in the 200-yard freestyle relay during the boys state swimming meet at Evanston High School Saturday.

       Anchor Collin Bawolek of St. Charles North leaves the starting block in the 200-yard freestyle relay during the boys state swimming meet at Evanston High School Saturday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East's Will Shanel swims toward a fourth-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle.

       St. Charles East's Will Shanel swims toward a fourth-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Darryl Mellema
Daily Herald Correspondent

They didn't have many entries with which to make an impact on the boys swimming state meet on Saturday -- but Marmion's three entries in the state finals each dropped time and collectively helped the Cadets rise to an 11th-place finish.

"I was really proud of them," Marmion coach Bill Schalz said. "We came in (Friday) and swam all best times and had some nice time drops."

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Marmion had one individual swim -- and Jack Fergus was eighth in the 100-yard backstroke. Fergus, Mike Burke, Dan Creighton and Andrew Kasper finished ninth in the 200 medley relay. That same quartet ended the meet by finishing fourth in the 400 freestyle relay.

"We dropped time in every event again and (Fergus) picked up four points for us in the backstroke and we picked up another four points in the 400 free relay. They did absolutely everything they could to get a Top 10 finish but at the end of the day, we just missed."

Of those swimmers who competed on Saturday for Marmion -- only Kasper, a junior returns in 2014-15.

"These guys raced really hard today," Schalz said. "We're at the end of a five-hour swim meet and it's a long, long day. When you've got hours between races, it's easy to fall asleep, but our guys didn't do that. They raced tough all day."

St. Charles East had one swimmer -- Will Shanel -- competing twice on Saturday. Shanel finished sixth in the 200 IM and fourth in the 500 freestyle.

"It hasn't set in yet that this is the last meet," Shanel said.

With a large turnout and success that built throughout the season, Shanel said he can see the team's potential.

"No matter whether you're a swimmer at the high end of it or the low end of it or someone who's on the team to stay in shape -- everyone has an impact on the program," Shanel said. "Everybody remembers the guys who are going crazy with time drops or who are setting state records accomplishing other things. And it's good to step up like that. But some of the younger guys brought a lot to the team this year."

Shanel is the last of a family legacy to come through St. Charles East. His father Bill won state titles in the late 70s on teams with his brother James. When Bill went to Indiana University, he met and later married Susan -- also a swimmer. Bill and Susan have had three swimmers in the Saints program -- Katie, Ashley and now Will.

"As much as it is a family legacy, it's also for the individual," Shanel said. "We're competitive. My dad and I have been comparing times all through high school. But as long as you're enjoying what you're doing and the people you're doing it with, that's a huge thing."

There have been many "legacy" families in St. Charles swimming. Will Shanel is the last of this family grouping and he is very aware of the history of the city's swim teams.

"When we were younger, my sisters and I would go to meets and think 'oh cool, everybody knows who our parents are,'" Shanel said. "I know I'm the caboose of the family, but I wouldn't change any of the major things that have happened."

And he said he feels the team is improving as he heads to Truman State for college.

"Spirit is huge, and this year, the team leaders really brought that along," Shanel said. "If guys started doing things that weren't really productive, we'd say "how about we do this instead of how you were doing it, and it helped turn things around. Through conference, sectional and state, we've really become the team I thought we could become."

St. Charles North had one swim in the meet -- and the 200 freestyle relay finished 10th. While Ross Davis and Collin Bawolek graduate, Joe Myhre and Stephan Hutchinson still have two years each in high school remaining.

"I walk away looking at a lot of the swims from the conference and the sectional meet going 'wow,'" St. Charles North coach Rob Rooney said. "These guys really believed in themselves and I believe in them."

After graduating a strong class of senior swimmers in 2013, Rooney knew this year would involve rebuilding.

"They taught me a lot more than I thought," Rooney said. "I've always known that when kids graduate, you have to re-establish the next year. These guys taught me a lot about never giving up. Talent-wise, it's not the same group of kids. But heart-wise, they had a ton of it this year, and they had more of it than I thought."

The future could be bright, depending what happens as the North Stars enter the offseason.

"I know what I need out of them," Rooney said. "Some of them have to give more, and that's something we'll sort out in the next few weeks. Ben Sherman and (Myhre) and (Hutchinson) all have the ability to walk out of this meet knowing they have the ability to set up success for the program for the future."

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