The Lyons Township boys' swimming team didn't end Hinsdale Central's stranglehold on the West Suburban (Silver) Conference, but the Lions are still exactly where they want to be.
Where the Lions are is ready to take on sectionals in two weeks after finishing second to the Red Devils in Saturday's WSC swim meet. Both teams emerged from the dual meet season with 4-0-1 records, tying each other to open the season, so the meet winner walked away with the conference title.
"Hinsdale did a lot of juggling and did everything possible to win," LT coach Scott Walker said. "That's now how we go about it. To win would have been nice, but we just swim through the conference meet because it's the Saturday two weeks from now when our kids can qualify for State."
Hinsdale finished with 341 team points to LT's 271, denying the Lions their first conference title since 1992. Downers Grove North finished third with 191, followed by York (176), Oak Park (155) and Proviso West (5).
Pat McGratch was LT's only event winner of the afternoon, taking first in the 200-yard freestyle in a season-best time of 1:50.59. McGratch also took third in the 100 freestyle in :50.50. Teammate Andrew Stevens also swam in both events and took sixth place in both.
Lions freshman Patrick Donavan claimed second in the 200 individual medley with his season-best time of 2:07.27. Kevin Brosnan had the third-best time in the event when he finished in a season-best 2:07.46.
LT had a third and sixth place finisher in two events: Paul Wierdak (3rd, :23.08) and Pete Cosentino (6th, :23.87) in the 50 freestyle, and Ross Ford (3rd, :57.16) and John Harris (6th, :59.80) in the 100 butterfly.
Kevin Tully took third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.03, followed by Brosnan (1:09.10) in seventh; Brian Kelly took fourth in the 100 backstroke in :59.05, followed by Donavan (:59.45) in fifth; and Paul Busse took fifth in the 500 freestyle in 5:21.82, followed by Mark Lakis (5:24.69) in sixth.
LT had three relays finish second: Kelly, Brosnan, Ford and Wierdak in the 200 medley (1:43.86); Mike Donatelli, Cosentino, Wierdak and McGratch in the 200 freestyle (1:31.13); and Donavan, Kelly, Wierdak and McGratch in the 400 freestyle (3:22.58).
"Honestly, I'd have been concerned if we had swam any faster than we did," Walker said. "It's not the time for that. We had a lot of personal bests, but we want to see more in two weeks.
"We're proud to be on the level where we made Hinsdale make adjustments. That's a compliment in the long run. Even though we lost, we didn't walk out disappointed or with our chins on our chests. We're walking tall, and we want to be walking tall after sectionals."