OPRF, Fenwick swim to favorable finishes at state

Rivals finish in three-way tie for 15th place

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By MARTY FARMER

Contributing Reporter

While it was essentially a foregone conclusion that New Trier would win its second straight IHSA Boys State Swimming title and its sixth in the past nine years over the weekend, area swimmers from OPRF and Fenwick posted relatively solid results during the Trevians-dominated, two-day event hosted by Evanston High School.

OPRF and Fenwick, along with Illinois Math and Science Academy, earned a three-way share of 15th place overall in the team scoring with 20 points. New Trier (250 points, fourth-highest total ever), which has won an astonishing 22 state swimming championships, defended its state title comfortably by winning four individual events and all three relays. Senior star Max Grodecki captured state titles in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles in addition to being part of two Trevians relay state championship squads. Naperville North (130), Warren (80), Hinsdale Central (73) and Sandburg (73) rounded out the top five in the team standings.

Fenwick made its mark on “finals” Saturday via its 200-yard freestyle relay team. The quartet of Justin White, Viken Huening, Tommy McGuire and Dan Kelly clocked in at 1:26.71 to place fifth in state overall.

Other Fenwick state qualifiers who didn’t make it past Friday’s prelims included Matt Bresnahan (200 free, 1:46.46), Bryce Peters (200 IM, DQ), Dan Kelly (50 free, 21.52), Max Showwalter (diving, 147.45), Rich Mueller (100 fly, 54.18), White and Huening (100 free, 48.02 and 48.47, respectively), along with Tommy McGuire (100 breaststroke, 1:00.95).

“I thought our boys underperformed,” said Fenwick coach Luke McGuire. “The team goals were to place in the top 10 and we ended up 15th. Their times were decent [Friday prelims], but not fast to come back on Saturday. Just taking the kids to the state meet is a positive experience.

 “We had a good year because this group of kids is one of the hardest working groups I have coached. We had solid leadership from our captains Dan Kelly and Viken Huening, and we have a great group returning next season.”

After finishing runner-up to their rival Friars at the Fenwick Sectional a few weeks ago, OPRF made its mark at state with several outstanding individual event swims from juniors Kyle Patnode and Nikita Bondarenko, who collectively produced four top 12 state finishes. Patnode finished eighth overall in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 52.17 seconds, breaking a 14-year-old school record previously held by Tim Barry (52.20). Patnode also placed 11th in the 100-yard butterfly, touching the wall at 51.54.

“Overall an impressive showing by the team,” said OPRF head coach Peter Quinn.  “We had set a goal of being a top 15 team at the beginning of the season so to see that happen for us over the weekend is truly gratifying. Kyle, Nikita, and Ben did themselves, the school, the team, and their families proud with their efforts.” 

In the 500-yard freestyle, Bondarenko touched the wall at 4:36.93 to claim 11th place. He also took 12th in the 200-yard freestyle (1:43.07).

The Huskies’ highest finisher/state medalist was Ben Lewis, who scored a 395.65 good for fifth place in diving.

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