- When: Friday, February 27th – Saturday, February 28th
- Where: New Trier HS, Winnetka, IL
- Prelims 3:30pm Friday | Finals 12pm Saturday (Central Time Zone)
- Defending Champions: Normal (results)
- PSYCH SHEETS
- LIVE RESULTS
The U-Normal boys, led by the late Jake Miller, won the Illinois HS (IHSA) championships last year by just three points over Libertyville, however it was a historic meet for Normal. The Chicagoland area has had a history of incredible success in both club and high school swimming, and Normal, which is located over 100 miles southwest of The Windy City, became the first “downstate” team to win the IHSA Championships. Ever. Miller won the 200 IM and 500 free by considerable margins in both, as well as setting the state record in the former, and Normal won both freestyle relays en route to their narrow win.
In addition to becoming the first downstate team to win the state crown, Normal ended a streak of New Trier titles at three. While the New Trier girls notched their fourth straight win in the fall of 2013, the boys fell to 6th. Normal doesn’t return too much from last year’s championship team, and New Trier has certainly rebuilt, but this year is looking like a toss up between a number of teams.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
It’s a trademark of Illinois HS swimming. Let’s look at this in the relays first:
- 200 MEDLEY RELAY – Top seed LYONS (1:33.78), followed by two 1:34s, followed by nine 1:35s and then twelve 1:36s
- 200 FREE RELAY – Top seed ST. IGNATIUS (1:25.14), followed by seven more 1:25s, followed by eight 1:26s
- 400 MEDLEY RELAY – Top seed LYONS (3:07.61), followed by thirteen relays between 3:08 and 3:11.0
Seed times are just seed times, and some swimmers will continue to hit their tapers while others will fade, but this kind of depth is pretty incredible. Similar depth exists in individual event seeds:
- 500 FREE – Top seed Sam Iida 4:35.21 (GLENBROOK SOUTH), followed by sixteen entered swimmers before finding a 4:42
- 100 FLY – Top seed Matt Harrington 49.74 (LIBERTYVILLE), followed by TWENTY-THREE entered swimmers before finding a 52
This depth is nothing new, but it just goes to show how exciting this meet is and how hard it is to predict individual and relay champions, let alone the state title.
With all of the depth in Illinois swimming, finals races usually shape up into great showdowns, most of the time with team title implications. Notice that most of the swimmers in these showdowns are seniors. Here are a couple races that’ll be fun to pay attention to:
- 200 FREESTYLE – The most recent fireworks in this event sparked in 2013, when New Trier swimmer Reed Malone (who went on to make the US Pan Pacific team in this event this past summer) set pool and state records with a monster 1:35.60 to obliterate the field. This year, the state record is pretty safe, although there are four guys who have potential to pop sub-1:40 performances. The top seed is Lake Forest sophomore Dylan Boyd, whose best time before this season, according to USA Swimming’s database, was a 1:43, although at the state qualifying meet, he dropped a 1:39.42. 2nd seeded at 1:39.69, also with a huge drop from his preseason best, is Normal Community West’s Andrew Loy. Seniors Matt Harrington (the 100 fly favorite) and New Trier’s Murphy McQuet have been 1:39 before, just not this season, though they are more than likely to crash the party in the A final. The two have both given commitments to swim for Princeton University next year.
- 100 BACKSTROKE – Top seed and Duke commit Max St. George of Wheaton North is seeded with a 49.21, which is just hundredths off of his best. Close behind is 2nd seed Daniel Hein of Dekalb (49.67) who has a best of 49.25, but the third seed, Sean Workman of O’Fallon, might be the favorite. Although he is seeded with a 50.82, the Virginia Tech commit was a 48.87 just this November, but with all three guys right around a 49 low/48 high, this should be a really close race.
- 100 BREASTSTROKE – Last year, two juniors of Metea Valley touched first and second by the slimmest of margins. Jordan O’Brien took the event in 55.88 over Matt Salerno, who was 55.89, in the closest race of the meet. This year, they’re back with the 1st and 3rd seed with 57s, but the two are the only probable sub 56 swimmers, and this year should be another great duel between two of the best breaststrokers in Illinois. Salerno is going to Arizona, which has a pretty good reputation for turning Illinois breaststrokers into American Record holders (Kevin Cordes, anyone?), while O’Brien will join a Missouri program that has seen great breaststroke success of late with swimmers like Sam Tierney and Igor Kozlovskij.
3) RECORD WATCH
Last year was a big year for the IHSA boys, as Sacred Heart Griffin and current NC State sprinter Ryan Held broke the 50 and 100 free records in finals and the Libertyville team of Alex Snarski, Bobby Snader, Harrington, and Atticus Rush set a new state mark in the 200 medley relay, led by a 22.54 lead off from Snarski and a 21.84 fly split from Harrington. In addition, Jake Miller took down the 200 IM record by a couple hundredths, lowering it from 1:48.15 to 1:48.08.
This weekend, keep an eye on Sean Workman. The senior is seeded with a 1:48.71 in the 200 IM, just off of that record, and his 48.87 in the 100 back is very close to the 48.21 mark set in 2013 by Andrew Jovanovic. Workman may be the only athlete primed to set new state marks, but this should be another year of fast swimming and great diving.
This meet is going to be pretty close between the likes of New Trier, Glenbrook South, Metea Valley, Naperville Central, and Hinsdale Central (in no particular order). Each team has at least one likely A finalist, as well as deep rosters that should make for great relays.