Boys swimming: Mundelein freshman Fathallah shatters records at sectional

By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/16/2019 6:23 PM

All Mundelein's Omar Fathallah had to do was look at his teammates.

"My vision was blocked so I couldn't see (the scoreboard) right away. But I knew I made it when I saw my teammates cheering me on once I touched," said Fathallah, only a freshman.


Must be the boys swimming sectionals at Highland Park, where dreams of heading to New Trier and the state swimming and diving finals were on the line. And of course with that usually accompanies a ton of nerves.

"I was so nervous," added Fathallah. "I'm still nervous but excited."

Fathallah shattered a Highland Park pool record as well as a personal best when he won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.07. Tobe Obochi of the host Giants also qualified with a time of 21.08 in the 50 freestyle.

"It's incredible. I can't believe I did it."

Well, believe it.

Fathallah calmed the nerves a little bit later when he also qualified by winning the 100 freestyle in another personal best and pool record time of 45.81.

He also swam the opening leg of the state qualifying 200 freestyle relay, where he paired with Aaron Anastos, Hunter Magee, and Parker Geary to touch second with a time of 1:26.72. The Highland Park quartet of Alex Gordon, Konrad Schmid, Ryan Tran, and Obochi won the event with a pool record of 1:26.64.

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In the final event of the afternoon, Fathallah swam anchor for the state qualifying 400 free relay, where he joined Anastos, Magee, and Ryan Zentz to touch second 3:10.85. Highland Park's Andrew Vorobev, Bora Hopali, Schmid, and Obochi won the race in 3:09.35, good for another pool record.

Highland Park won the team competition with 245.5 points while Mundelein was second with 215.

The Corsairs' lone representative, senior Kyle Falkstrom, did Carmel Catholic proud by returning to the state meet for the second time after repeating as champion in the 200 IM, where he touched in a pool record and state qualifying time of 1:54.78.

"I didn't taper so I'm especially happy to make it back (to state) this year," said Falkstrom, who swims club for the Woodstock Dolphins.

"But this is a really cool situation, representing your school. If you train well during the season at club, you can do well here in this environment."


Lawrence Wang was Libertyville's lone swimming state qualifier after finishing second (52.16) behind Highland Park's Vorobev (50.52) in the 100 butterfly.

Vernon Hills senior Caleb Thomson is also looking to go out in style after qualifying in the 50 freestyle, where he touched fourth in 21.74.

"I felt like there was something I needed to go after," said Thomson, who just missed state last year. "So it's been a goal since last year to make it (to state) and go out with a bang. I'm not fully tapered so I have some left in the tank."

Colin Kingsley of Lake Forest heads to next weekend's state meet at New Trier after winning the 500 freestyle (4:42.76).

The Scouts' Oliver Akintade also qualified after winning the 100 breaststroke in 59.39, while Luke Lanigan qualified after winning the 200 freestyle (1:43.56).

Vorobev also qualified in the 100 backstroke after taking first in 53.77, while Deerfield's David Basin qualified after taking third (21.38) in the 50 freestyle.

Highland Park's 200 medley relay of Richard Heller, Obochi, Vorobev, and Alex Gordon claimed a new pool record, winning in 1:34.56.

A strong contingent of divers will also make the voyage to New Trier. Deerfield's Zayne Danielwicz won the event (537.80), Highland Park's Lucas Absler was second (416.80), Deerfield's Lucas Hammontree third (396.25), Libertyville's Isaac Paul fourth (391.55), Warren's Spencer Burton fifth (381.55), Lake Forest's Richard Mannarino sixth (374.85), and Highland Park's Elliot Starkman seventh (359.45).

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