Several Oak Parkers swimming for West Cook YMCA's TOPS swim team made a big splash at two major state and national events in College Park, Maryland and Lincolnshire, Ill., recently.
Hanna Blankemeier, 10, took first place in the 50- meter freestyle event for girls 10 and under in the Illinois State Age Group Championships. The event, which drew 800 participants from 84 swim teams, is regarded as the highest level of competition for young swimmers in Illinois.
Hanna's time of 31.49 seconds established a new record for the West Cook YMCA's TOPS team.
Four other athletes from the West Cook YMCA's TOPS Swim team competed in the event. Together, the Oak Park team established eight new records for the TOPS team.
Alanna Dassoff, 14, who competed in the 13-14-year-old girls division, established TOPS team records for the 50-meter freestyle at 29:23 seconds; the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:10.99; the 200-meter backstroke at 2:30.98 and the 200-meter individual medley at 2:32.56.
Nora Sullivan, 12, set a TOPS team record for the 50- meter backstroke of 35.21 seconds in the 11-12 year old girls section.
Other members of the TOPS team were Mark Hallman, 13, and Josh Fluharty, 12.
Six older youths competed at the YMCA National Championships in College Park, Maryland. Eric Hallman, 18, led the West Cook team by finishing above 16th place in four events. He placed third in the 50-meter butterfly at 26.03 seconds. Hallman, who plans to swim for the University of Chicago swim team next year, also set new a new TOPS record in the 50-meter freestyle at 24.56 seconds.
Other athletes who established new TOPS records at nationals included: Kyle Patnode, who swam the 200-meter backstroke in 2:15:35 and the 200-meter individual medley in 2:21.55.
Other West Cook Y swimmers who competed at College Park were Nikita Bondarenko, 15, Matt Bresnahan, 15, and Hannah Connell, 16.
12U Eagles have rough go at PONY tourney
As of press time for the print edition of this newspaper, the OPRF 12U Eagles baseball team was still in search of a victory at the PONY League World Series in Monterey, Calif. The Eagles had gone 0-3 in their first three games, beginning with a 4-2 loss to Salinas, Calif., on Aug. 5. On the following day, the team fell 11-0 to Ewa Beach, Hawaii. On Saturday, the Eagles lost 11-4 to Blossom Valley, Calif.
The Eagles were scheduled to take on Caguas, Puerto Rico on Tuesday (after deadline).
Patterson wins gold
Oak Park resident Frank Patterson, 35, won the gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle swim event at the 2010 Summer Special Olympic National Games held in Lincoln, Nebraska last month. Patterson, an athlete with West Suburban Special Recreation Association, competed in four aquatic events.
Patterson took first in the event with a time of 2:03.95, 55 seconds faster than his qualifying score. He finished fourth in the 25-yard backstroke, fifth in the freestyle relay and seventh in the 50-yard freestyle.
Concordia launches athletics site
Concordia University Chicago's athletics department launched its new athletics Web site - www.CUCougars.com - last week. The site offers new social media integration, dynamic scoreboards, interactive polls, streaming audio and video and more on the University's athletics teams.
In addition to accessing team information including rosters, schedules and stats, fans of Cougar athletics can now sign up for text alerts on their favorite team, enjoy enhanced photo galleries and coverage.
-Compiled by Brad Spencer