Stevenson wins healthy-spirited competition with Vernon Hills

By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/7/2016 9:30 PM

They would glance across the pool at one another after an event and depending on who won the other would have that look as if to say "yeah, got you on that one!"

That was the main theme at Stevenson on Thursday evening as Vernon Hills came calling for a varsity boys swimming meet.

"It's been a fun meet with a lot of mutual respect," said Cougars seventh-year coach Adam Lueken, a Stevenson alum who swam for current Stevenson coach Doug Lillydahl a few years back. "It's always great facing them. This is a great pool and the kids love coming to compete because they know they'll be facing some great competition. We just try and win some events here and there, but dropping times is what it's all about."

Usually at this point in the season, swimmers are going hard and doing a ton of extra yards, all in preparation for tapering so that they will be their fastest at the state meet in late February.

Everyone from both teams swam well considering there was minimal activity as far as competition since before the winter break.

On Thursday in Lincolnshire, it was just a simple case of the Cougars being outmanned as the host Pats swam to a 123-63 North Suburban dual meet victory.

Brian Rabinowitz and Calvin Yoon were two of the multiple event winners for Vernon Hills, which slipped to 0-2 in dual meet action.

Rabinowitz won the 100 freestyle in 50.17 and later followed with a victory in the 100 backstroke in 56.11.

"It's about bettering your time and not so much where you place," said Rabinowitz, one of several Cougars who have high aspirations for when the state series rolls around in a little over a month from now. "I had good swims and I'm satisfied to be a couple of seconds off my best times, especially at this point in the season."

Yoon had a nice evening as well in winning the 200 IM in 2:09.68 and finishing second in the 50 freestyle (23.61). He also swam anchor on the victorious 200 free relay team, joining Rabinowitz, Jeffrey Zhang and Oliver Leung in 1:33.31. The same four also teamed up to finish second in the 200 medley relay in 1:44.31.

The Pats, on the other hand, posted victories in eight of the 12 events.

Daniel Ng picked up wins in the 200 freestyle (1:47.79) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.22.)

Karl Wadowski was involved in multiple victories, first swimming on the 200 medley relay with William Jiang, Alex Kapecki, and Collin Kapecki (1:44.31). Wadowski then teamed up with Alan Fang, Maxim Ryaguzov, and John Roh to win the 400 freestyle relay in 3:29.95.

Alex Kapecki also won the 100 butterfly in 56.17, Jacob Rosenkranz won the 50 freestyle in 23.49 and Ethan Ross tok top honors in the 500 freestyle in 5:12.27.

Matthew Krames provided a spark mid-meet when he came from behind to win the 1-meter diving, narrowly edging out Vernon Hills' Gene Palakov 222.55-219.60.

"I look across the way and yes, a lot of mutual respect and a fun, friendly and comfortable feeling," said Lillydahl, who saw his team improve to 3-0 in dual meet action. "They have some great young talent over there. We're just excited to get back in the pool after the break."

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