The Lyons Township High School boys swimming team made history at Saturday’s state finals hosted by Evanston High School.
The Lions, who scored 146 points in the team standings, became the first team in program history to win a state championship. Naperville Central (122), Hinsdale Central (117), Notre Dame (104) and New Trier (82) rounded out the top five at the state finals.
In the estimation of LTHS coach Scott Walker, every swimmer within the program truly contributed to the unprecedented accomplishment.
“We had 12 representatives at the state meet but all 70 kids in the program played a role,” Walker said. “The guys really bought into the concept that they were swimming for our team, our program, our school and our community. The more we talked about it during (the state meet) the less pressure there was on the kids.”
The Lions’ performance at state certainly reflected their confident but measured attitude.
LTHS excelled in the relays with a first, second and third place finish.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Ryan Hammond, Ben Breitenbucher, Weston Credit and Henry Claesson won the final race of the day with a time of 3 minutes, 4.71 seconds.
“No better way to go out and it was a come from behind victory, too,” Walker said about the Lions’ 400 free relay. “The one thing we were not going to do on Saturday was make a mistake. We held our exchanges on the relays and the guys did their work in the water.”
In the 200 medley relay, Spencer Walker, Credit, Claesson and Hammond finished second (1:32.81), while the 200 free relay of Hammond, Breitenbucher, Matt Linden and Claesson placed third (1:24.14).
The team’s excellent depth was on full display in the individual events as well.
Chris Phillips was fifth in the 200-yard individual medley with a time 1:52.21 and eighth in the 100 breaststroke at 57.69. Other notable results included: Credit (100 breaststroke/fourth, 56.24; 200 IM/seventh, 1:51.85), Spencer Walker (100 backstroke/sixth, 51.07; 500 free/eighth, 4:35.16), Hammond (50 free/ninth, 21.51) and Claesson (100 free/10th, 46.54).
In diving, Seamus Scotty came in fifth with a score of 459.75.
“Seamus was such a big personality in our group which I like to call the ‘dirty dozen,'” Scott Walker said. “We had 12 guys but not one superstar at state. We didn’t have a 6-foot-4, 210-pound swimmer full of muscle. We were just a bunch of grunts that went in there and did an exceptional job.
“The guys were in such a great state of mind on Saturday. To watch representatives of your program have so much fun and be successful at the same time is a coach’s dream. You can’t really match that kind of atmosphere for your athletes.”