Boys swimming and diving: Stevenson's 200 medley relay earns high-five
Jack Zhang sacrificed competing in other events, while AJ Carollo joined the 200-yard medley relay after the New Year.
Throw in sophomore butterflyer Josh Song and senior freestyler Jake Kim, and you have a formidable relay for Stevenson.
"We stacked everything into this relay," Zhang said after swimming his final high school race Saturday in the state meet at Evanston. "It's been like family. Having the guys as a support system has been awesome."
Proof was the quartet earning a fifth-place medal. The Patriots touched in 1:33.38, a week after setting team and pool records of 1:31.78.
"We made a couple of flip-flops to the relay and it was a good move," Stevenson coach Doug Lillydahl said. "This combination has been good all year and we just wanted to see what we could do."
Carollo, who leads things off with the backstroke, posted a split of 23.59.
"We didn't meet expectations, but we had a lot of fun," said Carollo, who will swim at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., next fall. "I'm really grateful for the opportunity to swim for Stevenson. We had studs on the relay, and our consistency made it a safe bet."
Zhang swam the breaststroke (second leg), Song took care of the butterfly (third), and Kim anchored. Song became the only Patriot to have a 22-second split in the medley relay.
"He's breaking new ground and has some exciting swims ahead of him," Lillydahl said.
Song also qualified for finals in the 100 butterfly, finishing eighth after touching in 49.96. Sophomore Jack White dazzled the crowd with his dives, earning the sixth-place medal. Seeded eighth going into finals, White amassed 457.90 points.
Mundelein sophomore Omar Fathallah made an impact at the state meet for the second year in a row. His teammates sought him out by the cool-down pool to congratulate him after he won a pair of meals.
"Having a cheering squad means so much," Fathallah said. "This atmosphere is electric, especially when you get behind the blocks and see everyone cheering out there."
Fathallah finished 12th in the 50 freestyle (21.34).
"I'll take it. I've been holding my times consistently," said Fathallah, whose best time in the 50 free this season was 21.01. "I'm already looking forward to next year. I just need to work on my under-waters."
Fathallah swims club for Patriot Aquatics.
"I joined them last fall and they've been nothing but welcoming," he said.
Fathallah also took ninth in the 100 free (46.53).
Highland Park senior Tobe Obochi went out in style, winning two medals. He took fourth in the 50 freestyle (20.75) and 10th in the 100 freestyle (46.90).
Deerfield junior diver Zay Danielwicz was fourth in diving with 484.00 points, while Lake Forest junior Colin Kingsley placed 12th in the 500 freestyle (4:42.33).
St. Charles North won the team state title with 137 points, just ahead of runner-up Loyola (135). Stevenson finished 11th with 34 and Mundelein 37th with 5 points.