Boys swimming: Waubonsie Valley races away with DVC crown

Now the real fun begins.

Waubonsie Valley won the DuPage Valley Conference breezily Saturday, racking up 307 points, well ahead of runner-up Naperville North, with 241.

But what's next? For some, the IHSA sectional two weeks from now will be a cause for trepidation.

Not for the Warriors' Keian Lam and Alex Schwartz.

Bring it on.

"We're definitely going to start cutting down the yardage for sure," Lam said of what practice will look like for the next couple of weeks. "We're probably going to switch from more distance yardage to a lot of sprint-focused technique work."

Wouldn't that be harder on your body than distance swimming, though?

"I feel like the yardage itself is the biggest thing that's tough on our body," said Lam, a junior, who took won the 100-yard butterfly in 52.32 seconds. His teammate, sophomore Tyler Bardak, was second at 52.61.

Lam also took second in the 200-yard individual medley in 1:55.04. Metea Valley senior Jaeddan Gamilla set a conference record in that event by winning in 1:53.51.

Schwartz, who had a tough go at the Metea Valley invitational a week ago, said he listened to the wise counsel of coach Chris Hagenbaumer this week.

"It's more that I found my coach's words and listened to his advice, and thought about what made me successful in previous meets," said Schwartz, who joined Lam in winning the meet-opening 200 medley relay (1:35.69). Schwartz also took third in the 50 freestyle (21.93). Naperville North junior Jonathan Wang won that event in 21.67.

Speaking of Wang, he played his role to a T to help the Huskies and coach Andy McWhirter finish second. In addition to winning the 50 free, he also won the 100 backstroke in 50.96, just after helping the Huskies' 200 freestyle relay team win that event (1:27.60). Schwartz, Lam and junior Sam Lohman and senior Ethan Huynh were just outside the winner's circle in 1:27.75.

What will the next two weeks look like for the Huskies?

"What's probably going to happen is, next week, we'll kind of train hard still," said Wang, who also led off Naperville North's 200 medley relay, which took second behind Waubonsie Valley in 1:36.23. "We won't start tapering until the week of sectionals, just so that we can bring ourselves up."

Pardon the pun, but another swimmer who made a huge splash Saturday was Metea Valley senior and Michigan recruit Gamilla. He set two conference records - the 200 IM and later, the 100 breaststroke in 57.10.

Gamilla may have some special moments coming up in the sectional and state, Feb. 24-25 at FMC Natatorium in Westmont. He said his practice plan over the next two weeks will be about tweaking the little things so he can perform his best in his last two high school meets.

Tweaking will be a big part of Neuqua Valley senior Dima Kondrashev's agenda, too. He stepped to the fore Saturday and won the 100 freestyle in 48.64.

"Right now, for the rest of this week, we'll still be kind of high with our yardage and high with our effort," he said. "Toward the end of the week, we'll be slowing down a bit and working more on the finer details, our starts, our underwater."

And mentally?

"It's just trying to stay in the race and envisioning our swims," he said.

There it is - the mental game.

"We just took their drag suits off, to let them feel fast, and get some enthusiasm to get them ready for sectionals," Hagenbaumer said.

Naperville Central was third with 227 points and was paced by sophomore Max Goetsch, who took third in the 100 freestyle in 49.52, a shade behind Kondrashev. He also anchored the third-place finishing 200 medley relay (1:38.42) and led off the third-place 200 freestyle relay (1:30.09).

What does the next two weeks look like for Goettsch?

"In practice, we'll do more sprints and get ready for the meets," Goettsch said. "We'll do less yardage every day, and then last day you kind of warm up in practice, and then go to the meet."

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