Groya, Jensen double York's pleasure at sectional

 
By Gregg Voss
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/22/2020 7:29 PM

Batman and Robin. Starsky and Hutch.

Jensen and Groya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

They weren't exactly superheroes or TV action stars at the Lyons Twp. boys swimming and diving sectional Saturday afternoon, but York senior Jay Jensen and sophomore Connor Groya were an unqualified dynamic duo.

Jensen easily won the 500-yard freestyle and finished second in the 200 individual medley, while Groya won the 200 freestyle and took third in the 100 freestyle. Each event was a qualifier for the state meet next weekend at Evanston.

For good measure, they also led two York relay teams to state -- the 400 freestyle relay, where the Dukes took third in 3:12.41, and the 200 freestyle relay, fourth in 1:26.99. It will be Groya's first trip to state; Jensen went last year in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.

All that effort helped York to a third-place finish as a team, with 185 points. Lyons won the meet with 277 points, while Hinsdale Central was second with 253.

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"I was feeling pretty good," Groya said. "We worked hard this season, and we just trusted in coach (Mark) Laurich's taper, that it was going to work. Both of us came in expecting to go to state in all four of our events, and we managed to get that."

Lake Park had a banner day, finishing just behind York with 170 points. Senior Ben Kimmel, an IUPUI recruit, was solid as could be, winning both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. But what might have been most impressive was the fact that he won the backstroke just a bit after he raced anchor on the 200 freestyle relay that qualified by finishing third.

True, the meet took a short break between the 200 free relay and the 100 back, but still, that's pretty hard to do.

"I just put my head down, put my arms back, focused on doing good dolphin kicks on each wall, and going hard," Kimmel said. "I'm used to it, because of club swimming, because we a lot of intense stuff in a short amount of time."

Kimmel also raced third in Lake Park's qualifying 200 medley relay.

Joining him on that relay were sophomore Philip Stempien, junior Ernest Berdychowski and freshman Jacob Drozd. Berdychowski also qualified individually in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. Drozd also qualified in the 50 freestyle, finishing third in 21.40 seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We had a really good meet," said Lake Park coach Dan Witteveen, who raved about Kimmel. "He's been a delight for four years to work with, and I think his head is finally relaxed because he's already signed his college papers and he's swimming finally for fun. I think he's going to rock it at the state meet."

Downers Grove South sophomore Bobby Sayre will make his first trip to state by virtue of a fourth-place finishing the 100 freestyle and fifth in the 50 freestyle.

"It felt really good," Sayre said. "I've been working hard and it led up to this. You just have to tell yourself that this is it; if you don't do it here, you don't keep going."

Also qualifying for Downers South was senior diver Jacob Klamer, third with 439.90 points.

Downers North was paced by two of its qualifying divers -- junior Jonah Kopecky and freshman Bradley Szydlowski. The Trojans took eighth as a team with 69 points.

An intriguing swimmer Saturday was Calvin Groenewold, the lone Timothy Christian swimmer. A senior, he qualified in the 100 breaststroke and narrowly missed qualifying in the 200 individual medley by finishing fifth in 1:57.64.

"It's that sense of relief when you worked all those months, all those early mornings, those weight rooms, those practices, I'm dead in the water, and then you come up here and you see those results," Groenewold said.

Glenbard West-South co-op finished in ninth place, just 7 points behind Downers North, and was led by sophomore Ryan Heller, who nearly qualified in the 200 freestyle, finishing fourth in 1:44.65. Heller also took eighth in the 100 freestyle.

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