Harrington, Bolman go out with medals
Bittersweet was the operative word as the finals of the boys state swimming and diving meet concluded Saturday at New Trier.
That primarily applied to all of the seniors. Included were Grayslake North's Brenden Bolman and Libertyville's Matt Harrington, both of whom are four-time state qualifiers who have plenty of swimming ahead of them.
Bolman is heading to Missouri State in the fall, while Harrington is taking his talents to Princeton.
Harrington drew on some extra motivation while chatting it up this week with several of his soon-to-be teammates.
"I've been talking this week with a lot of my friends (at Princeton) and they're killing it in their conference meet and should win it," he said. "It just helped motivate me to try to swim faster. It's been an exciting experience being here at state, but I'm really excited for the future as well. It's time to usher in the new generation."
Harrington placed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:39.73) and followed up by taking third in the 100 butterfly (49.44). Last season, Harrington finished second in the butterfly in helping Libertyville finish as the state runner-up.
"Matt has definitely given it his all, and this meet is just a small step in his career," Libertyville first-year coach Mike Cunningham said.
Cunningham lost a challenge to his team, as all four events that the Wildcats were in ended up making it to the finals. As a result, the coach had his goatee dyed orange. Harrington's mother, Karen, a hair stylist, happily did the honors.
"Yeah, it was kind of punishment for their success," Cunningham said. "But I'll take it any day. We lose some seniors, but we should be strong next year with the people we have coming up the ranks. It's been great watching these guys compete."
Harrington also swam on the 200 freestyle relay with Justin Fu, Noah Jamison and Eric Turner. The team made it to the consolation finals, as did the 400 relay team of Nick Harrington, Jamison, Turner and Fu. The Wildcats' 400 relay wound up in 10th place after swimming a 3:10.05.
As for Bolman, bittersweet definitely summed up his afternoon. He took third in the 100 backstroke.
"I was so close," Bolman said. "I really wanted to get under 50 seconds in the 100 backstroke. But this is really cool. I'm happy with third place. I saved a little extra in the tank for today."
In his first event of the afternoon, Bolman finished eighth in the 100 freestyle. He swam a personal-best 46.15.
"That was a good swim," he said. "A lot of these guys I've swam against for eight or so years. I love the camaraderie and mutual respect everyone has for one another."
Bolman, who swims club for Cats Aquatics in Libertyville, was quick to sing the praises of his acting coach Rob Caliendo, who is also a math instructor at Grayslake North.
"I met him my sophomore year and he noticed I had a T-shirt from a swim meet in Indianapolis," Bolman said. "He's been so supportive and has really helped my performance."
Stevenson senior Nicholas George Koto swam a 1:41.85 to take sixth in the 200 freestyle. Koto also finished 11th in the 500 freestyle (4:39.07).
Highland Park senior Alan Brint took home four medals in the athletes with disabilities category. Legally blind, Brint took third in both the 200 freestyle (2:41.45) and 100 breaststroke (1:34.03), and placed fourth in the 50 freestyle (33.89) and 100 freestyle (1:15.61).
Lake Forest junior Alex Streightiff was fourth in diving (458.25 points), while Scouts senior Daniel Smith grabbed the fifth-place medal in the 100 backstroke (51.26).
Hinsdale Central won the team title with 126 points, while Peoria Notre Dame (114) edged Naperville Central and Glenbrook South (113) for second place. Lake Forest (40) and Libertyville (29) finished 12th and 17th, respectively.