By Marty Farmer
Fenwick senior swimmer Liam Hutchinson fulfilled a goal he's been working on for the last four years at Saturday's state finals, hosted by New Trier.
The Notre Dame-bound Hutchinson won a state championship in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4 minutes, 24.47 seconds.
"To become a state champion is a great feeling. It had been something I had been aspiring to accomplish since coming into Fenwick as a freshman," Hutchinson said. "Coming into senior year, I knew it would be my last chance, so I feel I put in the proper preparation to win this year."
Hutchinson's 500 free time broke the school record (4:26.12) set by the Friars' Robert Ramoska who won a pair of state titles in 1978. Ramoska went on to swim at the University of Alabama.
Hutchinson just missed winning another state title in the 200-yard freestyle, placing second with a time of 1:38.16 on Saturday.
"I thought my races went very well," Hutchinson said. "Coming into finals I was hoping to drop some time from prelims and finish as high as my seed at least. After slipping up in the [preliminaries] 200-yard medley yesterday, I knew I had to make it up to my teammates with some good times."
In the 200 free, Hutchinson edged OPRF junior Will Raidt. Raidt recorded a time of 1:38.97.
"Competing against Will since he came into high school has been a lot of fun," Hutchinson said. "We've gotten to compete and know each other through club swimming. Whenever we get a chance at the end of the year to duel it out, we know it's going to be close and that we're going to bring the most out of each other."
Hutchinson, from Glen Ellyn, also swam a leg of the Friars' 400-yard freestyle relay team, which took fourth at 3:06.66. Dan Bajda, Connor McCarthy and Mike Flynn were his teammates in the final race of the day.
Competing in his first state meet, Flynn fared well in the pool. The promising freshman and heir apparent to Hutchinson, finished 11th in both the 200 free (1:42.18) and 500 free (4:36.60).
Fenwick scored 55 points to earn 11th in the team standings.
Although the Friars will lose leaders like Hutchinson, Dan Lynch and Alex Figus to graduation this spring, several talented swimmers will be back, including Flynn, McCarthy, Bajda, Pete Buinauskas, Will Gurski and Dylan Fu. Veteran coach Luke McGuire, recently voted the 2018-2019 IHSA Coach of the Year by his peers, will guide the Friars next season.