Boys swimming and diving: Stevenson wins sixth straight NSC championship
After going a perfect 6-0 during the dual meet portion of the season, Stevenson put the finishing touches on its sixth consecutive North Suburban Conference boys swimming championship after it amassed 337 points to also win the NSC meet hosted by Lake Forest on Saturday afternoon.
Mundelein was 5-1 in duals and held its standing by finishing second on Saturday with 231 points. Host Lake Forest was third (216.50) in the meet, followed by Libertyville (135.50), Warren (127.50), Zion-Benton (12), and Waukegan (2).
For many of these athletes it was their last swim of the season, like the Stevenson JV team, which also finished first.
"We like to keep the tree growing," said Patriots coach Doug Lillydahl, whose varsity boys won 8 out of 12 events Saturday. "It's exciting to have the JV here for their last swim. It really gives the varsity guys momentum and gets them excited. It was a really nice meet for us."
Senior Jack Zhang had a great afternoon coming away with some hardware.
He first paired with Mike Wywrocki, Josh Song, and Jake Kim to win the opening 200-yard medley relay in 1:37.27.
"I'm pretty excited about my swims and especially our relays," said Zhang, who was also awarded the NSC Sportsmanship Award as Stevenson's recipient.
"Winning that award, I am so honored and grateful for my teammates. We all have a lot of momentum heading into sectionals next week."
Stevenson and Highland Park both host sectional meets next week.
Zhang then swam anchor on the winning 400 free relay where he joined Foster Swanson, Dima Kobets, and Jonny Farber to touch in 3:16.37.
In between, Zhang also won the 100 backstroke (53.21) and was second (1:59.11) to Song, who won the 200 IM (1:58.56) as well as the 100-butterfly (51.35). Both were state cut times.
Song also led off the winning 200 free relay that featured Kobets, Brandon Xiong, and Jake Kim that finished first in 1:28.32.
Ari Zaritsky was also a conference champ in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.48) after edging out Mundelein's Michael Romero (1:01.81).
The Stevenson 1-2 punch of Jack White (455.10) and Danny Silverstein (411.75) finished first and second, respectively, in 1-meter diving.
Libertyville's Lawrence Wang was second in the 100 butterfly (52.52), while Isaac Paul was fourth in diving with 373.95 points.
Mundelein sophomore Omar Fathallah won two conference titles. The returning state qualifier first won the 50 freestyle, where he touched in just under state cut time with a 21.78. He then won the 100 freestyle in another state cut time of 47.68.
"Since I'm tapering for the state meet, I was really happy with my swims," he said. "Winning today gives me confidence and momentum heading into sectionals. I really want top-six at state (in my individual events) and for our relays to do well."
The Lake Forest faithful provided plenty of roaring after Colin Kingsley won two events for the Scouts.
He first took the 200 freestyle in 1:46.76, followed by a victory in the 500 freestyle, where he touched first in 4:45.42.
The Warren divers continued to impress when Blake Vander Jeudgt (374.85) and senior Spencer Burton (355.70) finished third and fifth, respectively.
"Both are state hopefuls for us," said Warren coach Chris Bertana. "Just a little tweaking on the simple dives and they'll be right at the state cut."
Other recipients honored with the NSC Sportsmanship Award included Libertyville's Paul, Warren's Riley Nebel, Chris Hill of Mundelein, Hornilo San Ramon of Zion-Benton, Joey Goodsir of Lake Forest, and Waukegan's Jesus Orozco.