Boys swimming: Less, Stevenson tuck away another NSC dual win

By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/16/2018 9:56 PM

It was the first time he tried the dive, at least in competition.

And in a big North Suburban Conference boy swimming and diving dual meet on Tuesday evening in Libertyville, the timing couldn't have been better for Stevenson senior Danny Less.


A standout gymnast by trade, Less, who has only been diving since last year, glanced over at diving coach Amy Inselberger and for the first time. The message was, don't get out of the tuck too early on his front two-and-a-half.

"I just learned the dive last week and my adrenalin was going tonight," said Less, who ended up being swarmed by teammates after hitting that fifth dive. The score played a part in Stevenson's 124-62 victory, keeping the Patriots unbeaten in not only the NSC dual meets this season, but also in league duals over the last two seasons.

The Patriots have a huge dual meet coming up at 10 a.m. Saturday against New Trier, a team that hasn't lost a dual in three years.

Less has received plenty of inspiration from a good friend, all-state diver Matt Krames. He graduated last year and is now showcasing his talents at Iowa.

"He encouraged me to start diving, so I always try and impress him," Less said with a chuckle. "This is my senior year and my only chance, so getting to state is definitely a goal."

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"And we're going to need those kinds of dives for the conference and sectional meets," added Inselberger.

That kind of excitement and energy is standard whenever Libertyville and Stevenson get together, whatever the sport.

"This is always a fun meet and one of our stiffest competitions of the year," said Cats senior Sean Coughlin, who is hoping to return to state in the relay events and 100-yard freestyle, which he won Tuesday after touching in 49.88. "Swimming against them makes us faster. I'm exhausted from the winter break training, but we're getting stronger. I just need to work on my turns."

Coughlin was also a part of the winning 200 medley relay, pairing with Austin Stevenson, Billy Bennett and Nick Harrington to touch in 1:41.91.

"I'm slowly dropping my times but we're getting there," said Harrington, who lopped off almost a second in the 100 fly last weekend at the New Trier Relays. "It's always good going against Stevenson."

Bennett also picked up a victory in the 100 breaststroke when he touched in 1:01.09.

As for the Pats, coach Doug Lillydahl and his swimmers certainly look like they have a good chance of equaling or bettering their fourth-place effort at the state meet from a year ago.


"We're hoping so," said Lillydahl, whose team improved to 4-0 against the NSC. "The last time we were in the top-four at state (before last year) was 2004. We're over halfway, digesting our winter training -- and now we want to start seeing results."

There were some pretty good ones on Tuesday, starting with Topher Stensby, the reigning state champ in the 50 freestyle.

Stensby took the night off in his main event but was still involved in three victories.

He swam first on the winning 200 free relay, joining Collin Kapecki, Maxim Ryaguzov and John Roh to touch in 1:28.03. He then won the 100 backstroke (55.64) and finished the evening by swimming the first leg of the 400 free relay, where he paired with Roh, Jake Kim, and Daniel Ng to touch in 3:17.00.

AJ Carollo also won two individual events -- the 200 freestyle (1:48.84) and 500 freestyle (4:57.98).

Nathan Gates also picked up a win in the 200 IM (2:05.03), while Ng also won the 100 butterfly (53.80) and Kapecki the 50 freestyle (22.70).

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