Friars plan mass assault on state meet
Oak Park River Forest's Mark Hallman, swimmer of the fourth leg of his team's first place victory in the 100 Yard Freestyle Relay shows the crowd a number one after he won the race with a time of 3:09.10 during the 2013 IHSA Boys Sectional Meet at Fenwick High School in Oak Park. | Michael R. Schmidt ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:54AM
OAK PARK — Fenwick’s boys swimming team doesn’t have a superstar swimmer.
The Friars get it done with depth and everyone contributing points in every race.
That was evident Saturday as they knocked off Oak Park-River Forest 412-387 in the Fenwick Sectional and advanced 10 swimmers to this weekend’s state finals at New Trier.
“We don’t have one great kid, we have a whole team of great kids that can perform when they need to,” said Fenwick senior Justin White, who qualified for state in four events. “The team chemistry is great. All the kids love each other.”
White advanced individually in the 200-yard freestyle (2nd, 1 minute, 44.6 seconds) and the 100 free (3rd, 47.77). White was also part of two relay teams that qualified. He was on the 200 free (1st, 1:25.59) with Mike Hill, Zach Tieke and Tommy McGuire and the 400 free (2nd, 3:09.41) with Hill, Tieke and Derek Guillen.
McGuire, a senior, won breaststroke by 1.45 seconds
“I got myself real psyched up,” he said. “I didn’t see anyone on the turn so I knew I was ahead. It means a lot going (to state). I definitely want to qualify for finals this year.”
Fenwick had three individuals post wins on Saturday: Jimmy Mullen in the 200 individual medley (1:59.89); McGuire in the 100 breaststroke (59.32); and Max Showalter in diving (423.5).
Also heading to state for the Friars are: Hill in the 50 free (2nd, 21.9); Cavan Smith in the 100 fly (3rd, 52.76); Tieke in the 100 free (2nd, 47.36); Connor Fabian in the 100 breaststroke (2nd, 1:00.77); and the 200 medley relay team of Matt Farmer, Tieke, McGuire and Smith. Fenwick is aiming for a top-five team finish at State.
The 200 free relay team had the second-fastest time in any sectional, the 200 medley notched the fifth-fastest time and the 400 relay was sixth-fastest.
Big hopes for HUSKIES duo
Huskies’ seniors Nikita Bondarenko and Kyle Patnode dominated while posting big wins in two events each.
Patnode notched easy victories in the 100 fly (50.48) and 100 back (51.16). Heading into state, Patnode has the fifth fastest time in the 100 back and the eighth fastest time in the 100 fly.
“The goal is top six in both,” Patnode said. “I feel really ready. I’d love to see sub-50’s for both but if I go 50 (seconds) in the 100 back I won’t be sad.”
Patnode set personal records in both individual events.
“I’ve had troubles in the past in the fly,” he said. “I’ve been shortening up and getting really tired on the last 25. But today was pretty good. The 100 back was pretty good too. I was just trying to keep it long and smooth.”
Bondarenko picked up wins in the 500 free (4:39.93) and 200 free (1:42.65), where he set a pool record. Bondarenko is seeded 12th in the 500 and seventh in the 200.
“(Last year) I was 12th in the 200 and 11th in the 500, so I want to improve on that, maybe score some top-six (finishes),” Bondarenko said. “I just have to take care of my body, get all the sleep I need, eat healthy. If I take care of my body, everything else will come.”
Also heading to State for OPRF is Mark Hallman in the 100 free (1st, 47.01).
Bondarenko, Hallman, Patnode and Nathan Pimentel propelled the 400 free (1st, 3:09.1) and 200 medley relay teams (1st, 1:34.44) to state. The medley relay clocked the top sectional time, while the 400 free relay is seeded fifth.
That’s a wrap
Leyden didn’t advance any swimmers but finished the season strong.
Leading the way for the Eagles was senior Adrian Gawiec, who set personal bests in three of his four events on Saturday. Gawiec was seventh in both the 50 free (23.6) and the 100 free (51.62), while also competing on a pair of relays.
“Overall I had a good day; I felt good and my coaches trained me well,” Gawiec said. “I started out this season with a 58 in the 100 so I dropped seven seconds and that’s a decent drop.”
Also having a solid meet for Leyden was Marcin Chmliewski in the 200 free (9th, 1:58.11) and 500 free (9th, 5:30.98).
It was a less enjoyable day for the Eagles’ Steve Tarnowski. The junior, one of the team’s best swimmers in the 200 IM and the 500 free, sat out after hurting his collarbone on Feb. 6. The non-contact injury occurred during practice and the doctor told Tarnowski that it was just a freak accident.
“I was really disappointed because I was looking forward to sectionals but the doctor ruled me out because I could do more damage to the collarbone,” Tarnowski said. “I hope I can recover really soon and within the next month I hope to get back in the water.”
Elmwood Park’s Ivan Stechyshyn had an unusually enthusiastic cheering section at sectionals.
Stechyshyn swims with TOPS (The Oak Park Swimmers) club team during the season because Elmwood Park doesn’t have a pool. Oak Park-River Forest parents lent loud support to the Tigers’ lone entry at Fenwick.
The senior, competing in just his second high school meet of the season, wrapped up his prep career by taking eighth in both the 100 free (52.14) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.99).
“Its pretty exciting to be a one-man team,” Stechyshyn said. “There’s ups and downs. Obviously I don’t want to be by myself but I have to be if I want to swim for my high school. Even though I was by myself I liked all four years and it was worth it.”
Stechyshyn, who set a personal record in the 100 free, does wish he had some Elmwood Park teammates to help inspire him at sectionals.
“I feel like I would have done a little bit better if I had a team and we were all into it,” he said. “People would be pushing me.”