Boys swimming: Schwartz leads Waubonsie Valley to sectional championship

Alex Schwartz is heading back to state.

Last season as a junior, the Waubonsie Valley swimmer qualified but fell short of advancing to the finals.

This year as a senior, he’ll be making the trip back to FMC Natatorium in Westmont, the site of next weekend’s state meet, with a ton of momentum.

Schwartz won the 50 free Saturday at the Metea Valley sectional in the time of 21.10 to earn his second consecutive trip.

Now he’s extremely confident that the results at state this time are likely to be completely different.

“I feel like last year, I set the baseline for this year,” he said. “This season it was all about improving and refining.”

Warriors coach Christopher Hagenbaumer couldn’t help but agree, saying that the best is still to come from Schwartz.

“He put his heart and soul into swimming this season,” said Hagenbaumer.

“Alex finished really well at the end of last season, and he’s just continued his endeavor this year all the way to the state meet. He’s a great kid and he’s very smart.

“It’s his mindset,” added the coach. “The way that he swims, the speed that he’s swimming at, and the fact that he’s focused the entire season on nothing but the 50.”

Schwartz led the Warriors to the team title in Aurora. Waubonsie Valley took the crown with 243 points, while Marmion Academy was second with 204.

Keian Lam of Waubonsie helped his team’s cause with a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (56:11).

“I’m super pumped,” added Schwartz. “We’ve got a great team, a lot of seniors, and we’re looking to make a really big push at state."

Oswego East finished third at 196 on a day where numerous athletes advanced to Westmont by surpassing the state qualifying time.

Chase Maier from Oswego won the 200 free (1:38.96) and the 500 free (4:31.48) to earn his journey to FMC.

Maier’s coach, Erik Enslen, said that the sky is the limit for the junior.

“He wasn’t rested today at all,” said Enslen, “so he has untapped potential for what he’s going to do next week.

“Chase wasn’t even near today where he’s going to be at state.”

Maier was at the state meet last season. He finished third in the 500, but didn’t make the finals in the 200.

“It was his first time at state,” said Enslen, “and I think he was a little nervous. “The 200 is early in the meet, and he did not do as well as we wanted him to. But by the time the 500 came around, all the nerves, all the butterflies were gone.

“This year he’s just going to go out and race.”

Thomas Egan of Naperville Central won Saturday’s diving competition, while teammate Max Goettsch was victorious in the 100 free.

Naperville Central took the 200 free relay, while Marmion was first in the 400 free relay and the 200 medley relay.

Other Marmion swimmers who excelled at Metea included Evan Conti, who won the 100 back, and Dan Ginaitis, who took the 100 fly.

Brayden Capen of the Cadets, a freshman, was fastest of all in the 200 individual medley at 1:50.30.

Now Capen knows that it’ll be a tough task going up against upperclassmen in the finals at Westmont, but he is ready for it.

“I just want to do the best I can,” said Capen. “I’m prepared, I’m ready for being one of the top dogs.

“It’ll be a challenge because they (the upperclassmen) are usually bigger and stronger than I am, but I’ll put in the same training I always put in, and it usually works for me.”

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