Boys swimming: Cary-Grove wins Barrington sectional

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/18/2023 6:57 PM

Huntley senior Ben Rocks was outstanding at Saturday's Barrington boys swimming sectional meet.

Rocks won the 50 free (21.45) and the 100 free (46.79) to advance in both events to next weekend's state meet at FMC Natatorium in Westmont.


He might have been more excited, though -- along with coach Jenna Gaudio -- with the history making performance of Huntley's 200 medley relay team.

Huntley beat the qualifying standard time in the relay with a time of 1:36.16 to move on to Westmont, and Gaudio said that "it's the first time our school has ever qualified a relay team for state."

Rocks, Dominic Siwiec, Yehan Subasinghe and Michael Boelens were the Red Raiders quartet in the 200 medley, the first event of the day.

"The energy from that swim really carried us onward today," added Gaudio, "and of course Ben winning the 500 and 100 was great as well. We're looking forward to next weekend."

Rocks said that he "felt pretty good" coming into Saturday's sectional.

"I had all my training done," he said, "so I just told myself to go out and give it everything I've got."

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"My main game plan in the 50 was to just get out as much as possible."

"Going off the turn I was a little sluggish, and I'm trying to work on that for state, but the last 12 yards I just made sure I could put my head down and go for it, trying to take just one breath if I could."

Cary-Grove won the team race with 265 points, and the Trojans were the winners of the 200 medley relay (1:34.71, William Watson, Connor Chan, Danial Sanahurskyj, Dexter Zielinski) and the 400 free relay (Watson, Sanahurskyj, Zielinski and Noah Brereton.)

Chan said the 200 medley relay "definitely gave us a preview of the type of competition we were going to have today."

Sanahurskyj won the 100 fly in the time of 47.63 while teammate Kasparas Venslauskas (57.43) was fastest of all in the 100 breaststroke.

Jaden Heinlein of Fremd triumphed in the 200 individual medley (1:51.42) and the 100 back (49.85); while host Barrington took home the medals in the 200 free and 500 free, both won by Rylan Anselm, and the 400 free relay (team of Lucas Bucaro, Karol Nowak, Adam Gaffney and Anselm).


Buffalo Grove senior Holden Wheeler, who finished eighth in state last year, won the diving competition with a score of 526.85.

"He's been lights out at every single meet this season," said Bison swim coach Tom Cooney. "He's broken our school record a bunch of times. He's the Mid-Suburban League record holder and holds lots of other pool records as well.

"It's all about Holden's work ethic, that's what makes him so good. He's got his eyes set on next weekend. That's the pinnacle of where he wants to be at."

The Barrington meet turned out to be ultracompetitive, as besides the event winners, 19 other swimmers/relay teams qualified by having times better than the posted standards.

That group included swimmers from Buffalo Grove (Edgar Rutkauskas in the 200 IM), Hersey (Andrew Flight in the 200 IM), Jacobs (Pavlo Komarov in the 50 free) and Rolling Meadows (Emanuel Anguelov in the 100 free), among many others.

Sean Grady of Fremd qualified for four events in the AWD division, while Barrington was runner-up in the team competition.

And the next step will be the advancing athletes setting their sights on FMC for the final meet of the year.

"One more week to state," said Huntley's Rocks, "so now we've just got to go out and analyze what we did well today, and what we need to work on."

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