Boys swimming and diving: St. Charles North repeats state title

  • St. Charles North's Srboljub Filipovic jumps into the pool as he holds the state championship trophy at the state finals in Evanston on Saturday.

      St. Charles North's Srboljub Filipovic jumps into the pool as he holds the state championship trophy at the state finals in Evanston on Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East's Leo Czerwinski competes in the athletes with disabilities 200-yard freestyle.

      St. Charles East's Leo Czerwinski competes in the athletes with disabilities 200-yard freestyle. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East's Calvin Windle competes in the 200-yard freestyle at the state finals in Evanston on Saturday.

      St. Charles East's Calvin Windle competes in the 200-yard freestyle at the state finals in Evanston on Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North coach Rob Rooney holds the state championship trophy -- the school's second straight.

      St. Charles North coach Rob Rooney holds the state championship trophy -- the school's second straight. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Srboljub Filipovic reacts to the North Stars finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay that sealed the overall championship at the IHSA state boys swimming finals in Evanston on Saturday.

      St. Charles North's Srboljub Filipovic reacts to the North Stars finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay that sealed the overall championship at the IHSA state boys swimming finals in Evanston on Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/1/2020 8:16 AM

On leap day, St. Charles North sophomore swimmer Aleksej Filipovic and the North Stars boys swimming team made a big leap forward at the state finals at Evanston.

The North Stars were not to be denied as Filipovic became state champion in the 100 butterfly in the time of 48.25.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Filipovic's big day, and the stellar performances of his teammates, led St. Charles North to a second consecutive team title.

The North Stars just barely outpointed Loyola, 137-135, to win.

"This is just the beginning," said Aleksej Filipovic of the victory. "We're going to keep improving, and I'm looking forward to my next two years. I'm so proud of my teammates today."

Contributing to the St. Charles North win was the 200 free relay team in fourth (Aleksej Filipovic, Srboljub Filipovic, Daniel Kowaleski and Ricky Williams); the 200 medley relay quartet also in fourth (Srboljub Filipovic, Nathaniel Baxter, Aleksej Filipovic and Kowaleski); Williams in the 200 freestyle (consolation heat winner, 1:40.30); and Srboljub Filipovic, who was fourth in the 200 IM at 1:51.30.

Other stalwarts for the North Stars Saturday included Aleksej Filipovic's runner-up placement in the 50 free (20.48); Williams, fourth in the 50 free (4:31.93); and the 400-free relay team of Williams, Kowaleski, Baxter and Srboljub Filipovic, who brought the team win home in the last event of the day.

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Nathaniel Baxter pitched in by placing sixth in the 100 breaststroke.

"It felt good to be in the pool today," said Aleksej Filipovic, "and just see what great times we were able to put up."

St. Charles East enjoyed another outstanding performance on day two of the state meet, led by diver Joey Scimeca, who took third at 506.90.

It was another step up for Scimeca, a senior, who finished fifth two years ago and fourth last season.

"This feeling is unmatched, it's like nothing else," said Scimeca. "Finishing in the top three was my goal from day one of this season and I'm so happy right now. Being here with my team means everything -- I try to keep everyone positive and when we're all feeling good, we really swim well."

The Saints were boosted by a second-place finish in the 200 free by junior Calvin Windle (1:36.95) and the stellar day by athletes with disabilities simmer Leo Czerwinski, a freshman.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Czerwinski, after posting outstanding seeding times prior to the meet, competed Saturday and excelled in the AWD 50 free (31.90) and the 100 and 200 free.

"This was just the greatest experience," said Czerwinski. "I came out today to race and do what I love. This experience has been even more than I could have imagined, it's been a lot fun and I have my teammates to thank for that. I trust them and they make me feel like I can do anything."

"To see where Leo is at now," said Saints coach Adam Musial, "compared to day one of practice this season -- it's just been awesome. He's a different swimmer and a different person at this point in time. He works hard and trains hard every day and it's great to see him getting the attention he deserves."

West Chicago co-op scored a consolation victory in the 200 medley relay behind swimmers Kyle Wolford, Will Herwig, Teegan Cook and Brian Culloton.

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