The Oak Park and River Forest High School boys swimming team took third place at the West Suburban Conference Silver Division Diving and Swimming Championships at York High School on Saturday. Hinsdale Central won the title with 321 points, followed by Lyons Township (311), OPRF (180), Downers Grove North (151), Glenbard West (147) and the host Dukes (129).
“I was really pleased with how the boys swam,” OPRF coach Clyde Lundgren said. “It’s a fun meet with a lot of energy and excitement. There was plenty of competition to go around and I think our guys rose to the occasion. There were several lifetime best swims and most guys ended up with at least their season-best swims.
“That puts us in a really good spot going into sectionals two weeks from now. The [conference] meet is a little bittersweet. You’ve got some guys racing, and it’s their last meet of the season or career, and others who still have a few weeks to go.”
In the relay races, the Huskies finished third in all three events. Junior Joshua Fluharty, freshman Max Razzino, senior William McNeil and junior Lewis Jackson teamed up in the 200-yard freestyle relay to post a time of 1 minute, 30.55 seconds. Jackson, McNeil, Razzino and senior Riley Silber swam the 400 relay (3:24.30), while the quartet of senior Jack Girardot, Fluharty, senior Jack Schimmel and McNeil timed at 1:43.29 in the 200 medley relay to close Saturday’s races.
McNeil placed the highest for the Huskies in the individual events with a third-place showing in the 50-yard freestyle (22.69 seconds). Silber notched a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 100 free (49.93) and 200 free (1:49.28). Girardot touched the wall at 58.43 for sixth in the 100 backstroke, while Fluharty also took sixth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08.22.
Rounding out the notable individual swims, Schimmel placed seventh in the 100 butterfly (56.69) and senior Kiernan Kelty was eighth in the 200 individual medley. Junior Jake Grant touched the wall at 5:06.63 for seventh in the 500 relay.
“As a team, the last couple of weeks we’ve tried to stress the importance of honoring the boys who were finishing their seasons.” Lundgren said. “I think that’s helped everyone stay focused on the task at hand and put up some nice times.”
The Huskies turns their attention to the Fenwick Sectional which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 21. The diving competition begins at 9 a.m. followed by swimming at 1 p.m. The IHSA State Meet prelims and finals are Feb. 27-28.
“Our goal will be to get as many boys to the state meet as we can, whether that’s individually or on a relay,” Lundgren said about the sectional. “The boys are training well and swimming fast, so I’m excited about the possibilities. It’s been a nice group of young men to work with this season. There is a genuine affection and admiration for each other that permeates the team. Working with the boys and being a part of the process of their accomplishments is a gratifying experience.”
At the Fenwick Sectional last year, Riverside-Brookfield snapped the Friars’ run of 10 straight sectional championships by outscoring Fenwick 294-253. Led by state qualifiers Mark Hallman, James Kelly and Lee Werner, OPRF was third with 231 points.