Quinn Collins | BILL STONE

As a youth swimmer, Lyons Township High School senior Quinn Collins was a pretty decent sprint freestyler.

When he felt getting passed by taller opponents, Collins found another focus, the backstroke.

“Most of backstroke is under water, like 60 percent. I like that because it’s something you can really focus on in practice, the kick sets and stuff,” Collins said.

The University of Denver recruit has grown into one of the state’s top backstrokers and a leader for a less experienced LTHS lineup. 

Collins gets one last chance with the Lions as part of their six state berths at the Hinsdale Central Sectional on Feb. 18. The state meet is Feb. 24-25 at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont.

Collins’ third-place 50.63 in the 100-yard back and 1:53.22 in the 200 individual medley beat state-cut times of 52.79 and 1:56.88 respectively. 

Also advancing was third-place junior diver Matt Adler (449.75 points) and the second-place 200 medley relay (Collins, juniors Jack Dillon and Peter Smith, senior Marko Trajanovski in 1:35.92) and the second place 400 free relay (Collins, Smith, senior Garrett Walls, Trajanovski in 3:12.04) which beat state cuts of 1:37.02 and 3:12.86. Trajanovski’s third-place 21.74 in the 50 free also advanced by equaling the state cut.

Only Collins and Adler previously have competed at state. 

“I think we wanted to get that one relay that missed just barely. Personally I’m pretty satisfied and I think the other guys are too,” Collins said. 

“I think I did pretty good considering I wasn’t shaved or didn’t have much of a taper so think I can put up some pretty good times this weekend.”

Top-12 performers Feb. 24 advance to the championship (1-6) or consolation (7-12) finals Feb. 25.

In his first state finals in 2022, Collins was sixth in the 100 back (50.32) behind four graduated seniors and part of second-place 200 medley relay, third-place 200 free relay and fourth-place 400 relay.

His goals this year are top three in the fly and top six in the IM. Based on sectional results, Collins is seeded No. 10 in the 200 IM and No. 11 in the 100 back.

“He has the most experience being on a sectional or state team, so he brings the leadership in that role and he also has just such high expectations for himself that he’s just a lead by example kind of guy,” LTHS swim coach Erin Rodriguez said. “When the boys see him do what he does they want to then do that. He’s just a leader by what he naturally does every day.”

Adler also hopes to improve upon his 2022 state meet, in which he was 23rd (203.30 points for 5 dives) after a then personal-best 425.25 at sectionals in his first season as a diver. 

Adler hopes to at least reach the top-16 state semifinals. His sectional point total was a new personal best and the No. 22 sectional score.

“It definitely does mean a lot, doing it for the second time,” Adler said. “Last year I didn’t really know what I was expecting. I don’t think I kind of realized how big a deal it is. Now this year I had expectations.” 

Rosa statebound in 100 fly, 100 breast

Andrew Rosa (RBHS) competes in the 100 yard breaststroke. | Ian McLeod

Riverside-Brookfield High School junior swimmer Drew Rosa had a great mentor for the IHSA Hinsdale Central Sectional meet on Feb. 18 in older brother Michael.

The 2019 RBHS graduate and three-year state qualifier is now a senior at the University of Notre Dame who swam there his first two years. 

“We talk a lot about [swimming],” Rosa said. “I was texting, telling him how I felt in the water. We were talking race strategies. We do definitely keep in contact a lot.”

Rosa continued coming closer to his and Michael’s bests by qualifying again for the state swimming and diving prelims on Feb. 24 in Westmont in two individual events.

Rosa’s third-place 50.95 in the 100-yard butterfly and 58.50 in the 100 breaststroke  – both personal bests — beat the state-qualifying cuts of 51.90 and 59.24, respectively. 

“They were some pretty good swims, especially since I’m not fully tapered and I wasn’t shaved and I was wearing an old suit,” Rosa said. “

Those among the top 12 times Friday advance to Saturday’s championship (1-6) and consolation (7-12) finals. 

Last season, Rosa was 25th at state in the 200 individual medley in a sophomore school-record 1:56.30.

He switched this season to the 100 fly, where the top five state finishers in 2022 all graduated. Even unrested, Rosa had the 15th-fastest sectional time in the fly.   

“I really want to break Michael’s 100 breast [school-record 57.14 in 2018]. That’s a really big goal I have in mind. He’ll definitely be watching on the live stream,” Rosa said.

The Bulldogs (204 points) finished third behind state power Hinsdale Central (352) and Lyons Township (253).

The third-place 200 medley relay of Cooper Marrs, Alex Jacobs, Rosa and Hayden Marrs (1:37.47) just missed the 1:37.02 cut. The third-place 200 free relay of Hayden Marrs, Lucas Hedrich, Rosa and Aiden Pankros (1:27.99) missed the 1:27.29 cut.

Diver Nate Kissel was seventh (380.40 points). In the 200 freestyle, fifth-place Hedrich (1:46.89) missed the 1:44.12 cut but dropped five seconds. 

“[We swam] 100 percent best times so you can’t ask for more than that. Lucas missed the cut by two seconds but it was a great swim,” RBHS swim coach Mike Laurich said. 

“[Rosa] did what we needed him to do. He didn’t shave yet so hopefully we can get a little more pop when he does that [for state].”