Hinsdale Central lives up to winning attitude at state swimming prelims
Looks like there's only one thing left to do for the Hinsdale Central boys swim and dive team.
If Friday's preliminaries at the IHSA meet at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont are any indication, Saturday could be a very, very special day for the Red Devils.
To say the Red Devils put on a show Friday may be a gross understatement. They placed 12 individual swimmers in Saturday's top-6 championship finals. They also easily won all three relays.
But it's been a long time coming, according to senior Andrew Fix, who took third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 55.13, just a shade behind his sophomore teammate, Joshua Bey, the runner up in 54.57.
"This dates back to about a year and a half ago," he said. "We agreed that we wanted to be the greatest team in the nation, and it's been a year-and-a-half work in progress. No one wants it as much as we do.
"I don't think there is anyone on the planet Earth that wants to be as great as this team."
Want more evidence of HInsdale Central's dominance? Take the 200 individual medley, where Bey (1:48.22) and junior Jeffrey Hou (1:48.47) finished 1-2.
Then there's the 50 freestyle, where senior Vidar Carlbaum won in 20.43 seconds. Senior Andrew Gilbert was third in 20.60. Ditto for the 100 butterfly, where Hou (47.46) and junior Nojus Bertulis (48.85) went 1-3.
And the list goes on and on.
"We came to put on a show," Hinsdale Central coach Bob Barber said. "We wanted to battle, and I felt bad for Stevenson, they had a really rough week health-wise. My guys stayed focused all year long. They came in with an attitude I didn't know we could actually live up to."
But that was just the beginning for local swimmers and divers. Naperville Central senior Alex Lakin won the 100 breaststroke in 54.50, followed in succession by Bey (54.57), Fix (55.13) and Metea Valley senior Jaeddan Gamilla (55.69).
Winning Friday is all fine and good, Lakin said, but the reward is having to do it all again Saturday.
"I swam state last year, and it's a fun time," Lakin said. "You go home tonight and think about what you can do tomorrow."
Lakin, sophomore Max Goettsch, junior Sam Lendzion and senior Matt Johnson pooled their resources to take fourth in the 200 medley relay, while Lakin, Goettsch, Aaron Hunter and Quentin Sanders took sixth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:24.76.
Goettsch was another Redhawks swimmer who had a solid day, taking fourth in the 100 freestyle in 45.58.
"It's crazy," Goettsch said. "It feels so good knowing all the work I put in this season paid off."
Don't sleep on West Chicago junior Brady Johnson. He won the the 100 backstroke in 48.09, and took sixth in the 50 freestyle in 20.73.
"It felt pretty good," Johnson said of his day. "I was kind of disappointed after my 50 free and my 100 back I really wanted to break 48."
Johnson also joined up with junior Ryan Fors, senior Mason Smith and Sam Ortiz to take seventh in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:24.90.
Another swimmer who's made serious strides since last year's state meet is Neuqua Valley junior Alex Parkinson, who finished second in the 500 freestyle in 4:29,.28, just .01 of a second ahead of Barrington's Rylan Anselm.
Waubonsie Valley junior Keian Lam helped his 200 medley relay team advance to Saturday's championship finals by finishing sixth in 1:33.27. He also tied Stevenson's Colin Zhang in the 200 individual medley; in the swim-off, Lam was second and thus will swim on Saturday's consolation round.
Just falling out of the championship round as well was St. Charles East junior Kyle Algrim, seventh in the 500 freestyle in 4:31.94. Algrim also took 12th in the 200 freestyle (1:40.96). Downers Grove North senior Aiden Musso also took seventh in the 50 freestyle (20.82). It was his first time at state; what did he think about the experience?
"It's crazy, there are people everywhere, it's loud," Musso said. "I feel good about how things went."