Even a quick glance of the Fenwick Swimming Sectional score sheet clearly reveals that the host Friars, hometown rival Oak Park, Lyons Township and Riverside-Brookfield dominated the action during Saturday’s intense eight-team competition. In fact, with the exception of Curie’s Ramiro Almarez, who won the 200-yard IM and took second in the 500-yard freestyle, every state finals qualifying relay team or swimmer at the sectional hailed from the aforementioned four area schools.
Fenwick took the team title with a score of 408, followed by Oak Park (336 points), LT (324) and RB (297).
The Friars claimed four individual event victories led by junior Justin White, who won the 100-yard freestyle (46.49 seconds) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:42.44). Sprinter Dan Kelly took top honors in the 50-yard freestyle, touching the wall at 21.29, while Tommy McGuire won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.51. Other state qualifiers for the Friars included Matthew Bresnahan in the 200 free (1:44.77), Bryce Peters in the 200 IM (1:58.47), Rich Mueller in the 100-yard butterfly (52.44), Viken Huening in the 100 free (47.52) and diver Max Showallter (408). Sophomore diver David Durkin turned in a solid effort as well scoring 342.
The Friars also swept the relay events, earning state qualification in the 200 medley relay (1:36.43), 200 freestyle relay (1:25.56) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:10.14).
Oak Park represented the West Suburban Conference multiple times on the winner’s podium as junior Kyle Patnode won the 100 fly at 51.58 and the 100-yard backstroke at 52.95. The Huskies’ top distance swimmer Nikita Bondarenko recorded a time of 4:40.98 to take first in the 500 free. The junior also made state with a runner-up time of 1:43.32 in the 200 free. Ben Lewis won diving with a score of 495.6.
The Huskies also will send a pair of relay teams to state as the 200 medley and 400 free squads clocked times of 1:37.06 and 3:14.41, respectively. On the deck, Oak Park coach Peter Quinn, who is retiring at season’s end, was recognized as the Sectional Coach of the Year.
While LT veteran coach Scott Walker is reloading a bit this season with several talented underclassmen swimmers, senior Danny McGuinness performed admirably by earning a state appearance with a second-place swim in the 100 free (47.25) and a third-place mark in the 50 free with a time of 21.63. Other state qualifiers for the Lions included Joe Shannon, who was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.58) and Brendan Weibel, who finished third in the 500 free (4:47.93).
Riverside-Brookfield rounded out the top four as three Bulldogs’ relay teams along with Sean DeMuro and Kevin Garza punched their tickets to state finals weekend. DeMuro took second in the 50 free, touching the wall at 21.53, while Garza garnered a third-place showing in the 100 fly at 52.64. The Bulldogs’ best performance among three outstanding relay swims came from their 200-yard freestyle squad of Ken Castle, John Copp, DeMuro, Luke Keller, Quinn Risley and Dan Somers, which posted a 1:27.35.
The state finals are this weekend at Evanston High School. New Trier, vying for its second straight state championship and sixth title in the last nine years, features six Division I swimmers led by Wisconsin recruit Max Grodecki.