By Marty Farmer
The OPRF and Lyons Township boys swimming teams will be seeing a lot of each other over the next several weeks.
The Huskies won the first meeting, 114-72, against the visiting Lions on Friday, Jan. 18. The West Suburban Conference Silver Division rivals meet again on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Lyons Township Invite and a final time on Nov. 1-2 at the West Suburban Conference Silver Division Championships.
"LT was our last home meet of the season," OPRF coach Clyde Lundgren said. "The boys were pretty fired up about going for some pool records. I told them before the meet that regardless if they broke the records or not I was pleased with their initiative and mindset to want to lay it on the line and go for it."
While Hinsdale Central and LTHS have dominated the conference in recent years, the Huskies are making it a three-way race with their young and talented group of swimmers. Hinsdale Central edged OPRF 97-88, but the Huskies responded well with their win against LTHS, the reigning state runner-up in Class 3A.
"Against Hinsdale there were a couple of races that if they would've gone the other way it would have changed the outcome of the meet," Lundgren said. "It was an exciting meet and the close competition brought out the best in both teams. There were several close races and both teams responded well."
OPRF set two pool records, won every individual event, and two of three relays against the Lions.
Multiple event winners Will Raidt, Benjamin Guerrero and Diego Pareja paced the Huskies.
Raidt took first place in the 100-yard freestyle with a new home pool record time of 47.16 seconds (previously 47.22) and the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 45.01 seconds.
Guerrero took home titles in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.44) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:57.92).
Pareja touched the wall at 54.05 for the best finish in the 100-yard backstroke. He also placed first in the 100-yard butterfly at 54.93.
Other OPRF winners included Frank Tirone (50-yard freestyle/21.79), Owen Osga (100-yard breaststroke/1:04.18) and Tyler Hoyt (diving/226.90).
The Huskies' quartet of Pareja, Pedraza, Raidt and Tirone also set a new home pool record time of 1:35.29 in the 200-yard medley relay. The previous record was 1:37.60.
OPRF closed out the competition well with a first-place result in the 400-yard freestyle relay as Guerrero, J.P. Rotatori, Alex Pedraza and Tirone recorded a time of 3:17.97.
The Lions' 200-yard freestyle relay provided the highlight of the day for the visitors. Michael Walsh, Ben Lynch, Jack Thorell and Bryson Breitenbucher set a pool record time of 1:27.19, topping the previous mark of 1:28.12)
OPRF finished 4-1 in conference dual meets with other victories over LTHS, York, Downers Grove North and Glenbard West.
After the conference tournament is completed, the Huskies will compete at the Fenwick Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 16.
"The boys are right where we like to be at this time of year," Lundgren said. "We are finalizing lineups and fine-tuning our races in preparation for peak performances at the end of the season.
"I love the overall team attitude and the trust that the boys have in their training and each other and for the most part we are healthy going into the final stretch. I'm fond of these boys and eager to see how fast they will go."
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