Boys swimming and diving: St. Charles East shines again at SCN invite
St. Charles East swimming coach Adam Musial had every reason to smile.
The Saints, sixth in the state a year ago, claimed top honors at Saturday's 20th annual St. Charles North Invitational with 251 points. The host North Stars, the defending state champs, were second with 231 points.
The Saints defeated North in a DuKane Conference dual meet earlier in the season.
"We are senior heavy with 11 seniors and they are talented with mental toughness," said Musial. "We are really excited about today and the way the season has progressed. We have big goals for the rest of the season."
The Saints claimed 4 individual titles and took top honors in the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the day.
Saints senior Owen Mruk gave the champions their first individual title. Mruk was clocked in 1:45.78 in winning the 200 freestyle.
"My back half was stronger and I kept pounding the entire time," said Mruk. "My third fifty I got some momentum which carried me."
Mruk was joined in the winners circle by Braden Clarke (100 freestyle, 48.64), Calvin Windle (500 freestyle, 4:43. 71); and Sean Yetter (100 breaststroke, 58.66).
The 400 relay team, which finished first with a time of 3:10.97, consisted of Windle, Yetter, Clarke and Mruk.
The runner-up North Stars picked up 2 individual championships with 2 first place finishes in the relays.
Picking up first place hardware for the Stars were diver Ben Watanapongse (415.60 points) and Aleksej Filipovic (50 freestyle, 20.62).
"My strong breaststroke was key to finishing first," said Filipovic. "I had an occasional slip up but overall I swam very well. There are expectations and pressure that come with being the defending state champs."
The Stars swam to first place finishes in the 200 medley relay (Aleksej Filipovic, Srboljub Filipovic, Nathaniel Baxter, Dan Kowaleski, 1:36.24) and in the 200 freestyle relay (Srboljub Filipovic, Kowaleski, Baxter, Albert Buvary, 1:28.01).
"(St. Charles) East is a very talented team," said North Stars coach Rob Rooney. "They might be the best team in the state. They could be a trophy team. We are one step away from being a very good team. We still have a lot of opportunities for success. Every season is different. I think we have a more well rounded team this season than last season."
Barrington, led by sophomore Griffin O'Leary, finished third with 211.
O'Leary won the 100 butterfly (49.79) and 100 backstroke (50.04).
"There are some great swimmers here," said O'Leary. "They motivated me to swim fast. I am excited about the rest of the season and qualifying for the state meet."
Hinsdale Central, fourth with 183 points, was led by senior Michael Bennington who was second in the 100 backstroke behind O'Leary with a time of 53.33.