Boys swimming and diving: Stevenson making a splash once again
No stranger to success at the state meet, the Stevenson boys swimming and diving team is making some waves once again.
The Patriots finished eighth in the team standings a year ago and are looking for a Top 10 finish again when Saturday's finals commence at Evanston Township High School at 11 a.m.
But to get that Saturday swim, competitors needed to get past qualifying Friday afternoon as medals will be awarded to the Top 12 following the finals of each event.
The Patriots' 200-yard medley relay has been lighting it up all season and won sectionals last week with a team and pool record of 1:31.78 to gain the top seed heading into the prelims.
They didn't disappoint as the quartet of seniors AJ Carollo and Jack Zhang, sophomore Josh Song and senior Jake Kim touched in 1:32.93, good for fifth position heading to the finals.
Zhang is the only one back from the 200 medley that took 11th at state last year.
"We were just looking to start the meet strong," said Carollo, whose split was 23.51.
"All we wanted was to get to the finals and we got the job done."
Speaking of Song, he also has a chance to earn a Top 12 medal in the 100 butterfly.
Last week in winning sectionals, Song finished in a school record time of 49.50. In the prelims Friday, he swam a 49.77 and will compete in the consolation finals Saturday.
"He (Song) has a chance to do some great things," said Stevenson coach Doug Lillydahl. "And we haven't had anyone score points in the butterfly for us in at least 10 years."
Sophomore diver Jack White was seeded eighth heading into prelims and held his ground.
He collected 315.15 points in the semifinals to head into Saturday in eighth position.
"He has a chance to score some points for us at the state meet," added Lillydahl. "He still has some really great dives left."
Last year, Mundelein was 41st in the team standings and looks to improve on that this year.
"When you have a swim on Saturday, you're doing well," said Mundelein coach Rahul Sethna, whose team won its first sectional title a week ago at Highland Park and qualified a school record 11 swims for state.
"We were hoping for some Saturday swims and to get some guys to the finals."
The Mustangs have been led all year by a host of experienced swimmers, including sophomore returning state qualifier Omar Fathallah.
As a freshman, he finished 10th in the 100 freestyle at state last year.
In the prelims Friday, Fathallah was seeded 10th in the 100 freestyle and eighth in the 50 freestyle.
"I'm just chillin'," he said after finishing fourth in his heat of the 50 freestyle. He touched in 21.11, good for 10th position, and will compete in the consolation finals Saturday.
"I didn't have time to mess with the wedge and coach said I still swam really fast," he said. "So that's motivation heading to Saturday. But this whole state experience has been awesome. My teammates and mom and dad are here cheering me on."
He knew what to do with the block in the 100 freestyle, where he swam a 46.66, which was good for ninth place and a spot in the consolation finals.