Boys swimming: Stevenson claims Lake County championship
He was noticeably disgruntled.
A malfunction with the clock had Stevenson senior anchor Topher Stensby touching second when it was crystal clear he had edged out Barrington's Steven Fischer.
"I looked up at my split and knew it was wrong," said Stensby, who is headed to Notre Dame next fall. "But I try and keep my emotions in check and try and being a senior, try and be a leader."
Once things were straightened out, Stensby's split of 20.04 was more like it as he helped the quartet of Jack Zhang and Joseph and Joshua Song collect a first-place medal in the 200-yard medley relay with their time of 1:36.14.
The cool, calm and collected Stensby used that first event as fuel in helping the Patriots repeat as champs at the Lake County Meet in Lincolnshire on Saturday afternoon. He is the reigning two-time state champ in the 50 freestyle and defending state champ in the 100 free.
Stevenson posted 505 points to outdistance runner-up Barrington, which had 333. Mundelein was third (256), followed by Highland Park (245.5), Warren (238.5), Lake Forest (202), Libertyville (162), and Vernon Hills (122).
After the opening victory, Stensby blistered the field in winning the 50 freestyle (20.77) followed by the 100 freestyle (46.59). He finished the day when he joined the quartet of Jake Kim, Richard Lee, and Zhang to touch first (3:12.39) in the 400 free relay.
For Stevenson success is infectious, according to senior co-captain Beno Maya, who picked up a seventh-place medal in the 100 butterfly (55.29).
"We have a great training group that tries to give off positive energy," he said. "The team energy elevates us and gives us the competitive drive to do well in meets."
Max Ryaguzov was also a county champion for the Pats after touching first in the 200 IM (1:59.40) and Jack White took the county title in 1-meter diving (336.20).
Barrington had a solid meet with junior Jack Hoppe and freshman Griffin O'Leary leading the charge.
Hoppe won the 200 freestyle (1:45.93) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.36.
"He had a great day and is one of our leaders," said Broncos coach John Valentine. "And Griffin is only 15 and this is new to him. It's nice for him to get a break from club and enjoy competing in the team atmosphere."
Hoppe also swam the third leg of the 200 free relay where he paired with Sam Burrell, O'Leary, and Fischer to win in 1:28.27.
O'Leary also picked up a county title in the 100 backstroke (51.70) and also finished second in the 100 butterfly (52.60), which was won by Highland Park's Andrew Vorobev (52.41).
Daniel Langlois was also a county champion for the Broncos in the 500 freestyle, with a time of 4:52.43.
Mundelein dropped a lot of times for this early in the year.
The Mustangs had a host of personal bests, which was led by a nice mixture of experience and new faces to varsity.
"Overall we're doing well. We have a bunch of new freshmen making an impact. We've been deep in recent years and are trying to move up," said Mustangs coach Rahul Sethna.
Freshman Omar Fathallah was second in the 100 freestyle (22.16) and swam anchor on the second place 400 free relay, where he joined fellow freshman Aaron Anastos, and upperclassmen Hunter Magee and Ryan Zentz to touch in 3:20.84.
Michael Romero is another talented freshman to look out for in the IM and 100 breastroke, where he finished sixth on Saturday (2:04.84).
Warren's diving contingent helped the Devils start the meet with 44 points after three finished in the top 10.
"They all stepped up and had great dives this morning," said Warren coach Chris Bertana.
Junior Spencer Burton was second (328.55), junior Wes Tunelius fourth (298.65), and freshman Blake Vander-Jeugdt seventh (286.45).
"Our diving coach (Nathan Lightman) has done an awesome job," Bertana said. "We're just trying to get everyone back in shape. One of our goals is to beat Mundelein in a dual meet later in the season."
Libertyville is going through some growing pains, but head coach Amanda Pechauer likes where the team is this early in the season.
"We've had a lot of personal bests and season-best times," she said. "This meet is always a lot of fun and a good chance to see where you stand before heading into winter break."
Senior Lucas Vla had a pair of season-best times in the 500 (5:25.18) and 200 freestyle (2:00.59) for the Wildcats.
"I took out pretty quick and am focusing on my turns," he said. "We have hard practices that help our endurance."
Mitchell Madland also had a lifetime best time in the 200 IM (2:24.39). Lawrence Wang collected a fourth-place medal in the 100 butterfly (54.33) and eighth-place hardware in the 200 free (1:53.43). He also swam the third leg on the sixth-place 400 free relay when he paired with Mark Plunkett, Richie Rush, and Vla to touch in 3:27.87.
Vernon Hills also boasts some talented freshmen in Ethan Phua, Caleb Thomson, and Arjuna Vimalarajah.
Phua was fifth in the 200 IM (2:03.86) and Thomson fifth in the 100 free (50.03).
Vimalarajah had a 26 second split swimming the butterfly portion of the 200 IM where he joined David Ustis, Phua, and Thomson to finish seventh (1:45.20).
"We obviously still have a lot of time to drop (times)," said Cougars coach Adam Lueken. "We love competing in this meet because it's the best in the area and we'll see them again at sectionals. We're just trying to get a good picture of where we stand before break."