Boys swimming: Maine South tops the field at Rolling Meadows

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/14/2019 8:14 PM

Rolling Meadows hosted its 22nd annual boys swimming Wild Stallion Jamboree Saturday at the Elk Grove pool and everyone, fans and competitors alike, seemed to be waiting anxiously for the final event of the day.

Number 16 on your program, the 8 x 25 freestyle gummy worm relay.


"Wait until you hear how it sounds in here," said Mustangs coach Monika Chiappetta just prior to the race. "An eight guy by 25 kick relay, racing for 15 pounds of gummy worms. You'll see how loud it gets, like they're fighting for some massive title. It's kind of fun and the kids enjoy it."

And when the kickboarding had finished it was Cary-Grove, first among the 12 teams at the meet, that celebrated winning the bag of gummies.

"This is pretty big," said Trojans swimmer Cole Seeger, who swam the final leg of the event. "To win this at the end of the meet along with my teammates is just pretty special."

On the more serious side of swimming, it was Maine South that captured the overall Jamboree crown. The Hawks posted a mark of 286, with Hersey second at 272 and Cary-Grove (270) third.

"There's a lot of variety at this meet In terms of the types of relays you can swim," said Maine South coach Don Kura, "and it gives us a chance to give different guys swims in different events, and see where they're at. Especially the younger guys -- sometimes you find out something that they're going to be really good at that potentially you wouldn't have known."

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The Hawks won four relays -- the 200 medley class (1:44.90) with Ljubomir Popovic, Andrew Lyubashenko, George Kubis and Billy Myer; the 350 free (3:014.14) behind Jack Folan, Zack Wagner and Brendan Forrest; the 200 yard 50-100-50 breaststroke relay (1:59.56, Daniel Young, Logan Nielson and Lyubashenko); and the 200 medley (1:46.10, Kai Lindholm, Wagner, Nielson and Lyubashenko).

"I love this meet," said Lindholm. "I love the tournament aspect here and the amazing energy -- it's awesome. I feel like this is going to be our best year yet. We're going to hope to go three state relays and eleven individuals, We're really going for the gold this year."

Cary-Grove won the 200 yard back 50-100-50 relay (1:48.05 with JT Matthias, Ben Castro and Noah Siegmeier) and the 200 fly 50-100-50 relay (Castro, Danny Sanahurskyj, and Peyton Richardson).

A couple of frosh-soph events were sprinkled into the meet, and Dom Schlueter of South Elgin (23:40) finished second in the underclass 50 free.

Hersey won two relays, the 100 4x25 free (Misha Nikiforov, Ethan Marunde, Kevin Pollina and Myro Lehkyy), and the 300 yard free (Marunde, Gavin Hill, Nate Loch and Nikoforov).


Prospect did the same -- the 400 medley (Kevin Soltys, Tim Hays, Aidan Rodriguez and Andrew Tonkovic in the time of 3:40.13, and the 400 yard 4 x 100 IM (3:46.99, Rodriguez, Hays, Soltys and Tonkovic again).

Rolling Meadows was victorious in the 400 free relay, a time of 3:18.29, with the team of Jacob Hardt, Lukas Slifierz, Vlad Molin and Sam Keeley.

There was only one individual varsity race on the card, the 50 free, and Keeley took that medal home for the Mustangs, finishing first in the time of 21.80.

Keeley, a junior, said that the 50 free and the 100 free are his favorite events.

"I like the speed of those races, just go all out," said Keeley. "There should be nothing left at the end."

"Sam is a man on a mission," said Chiappetta. "He's having a lot of fun and he's very focused. He's kind of a dark horse, but I know (his success) has been coming. Sam works really hard and it's all coming together for him this season.

"Twenty-two years ago we started this tourney and wanted to bring the whole team together," added Chiappetta. "Frosh-soph competing alongside varsity. Everything at this meet is about team."

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