All season New Trier has been working to avenge their disappointing third-place finish at last year’s state championship.
They finished undefeated in dual meets, won the CSL South conference title and a regional championship. On Saturday, the Trevians took the final step before getting a chance at redemption, winning the IHSA Evanston Sectional swimming championship.
“It was just a solid effort. It was nothing flasy, nothing that stepped out and said this was great,” New Trier coach Mark Onstott said. “To be honest, at this meet that’s kind of good.”
You want to come in and get your people to the next meet without having to taper people.”
New Trier scored 353 points as a team, easily defeating second-place Evanston (265).
Only one swimmer – freshman Jeff Park, who swam the 100 Breast – came into Saturday fully rested and shaved. The rest of the Trevians came out boasting full heads of freshly bleached hair.
Still it was no hindrance to New Trier, which won 11 of the meet’s 12 events. In total, 12 different swimmers from New Trier moved on to the state finals in individual events.
Junior Nels Snyder (22.13) barely missed out on qualifying for state in the 50 Free. He placed second, behind teammate Max Grodecki (21.56), but his time was six one-hundredths of a second behind the IHSA qualifying time of 22.07. Snyder qualified in the same event last season.
“I didn’t take a breath on my second 25 and I think that kind of affected it; I got really tired towards the end,” Snyder said. “It’s just a bummer about the whole thing. It felt pretty good and I just ended up missing it by a couple hundredths.”
Snyder rebounded to help New Trier (1:27.74) win the 200 Free Relay by swimming the anchor leg.
While Onstott said he will continue to evaluate who wil be on the final relay teams at state, he said Snyder would likely remain.
The Trevians took first place in all three relays on Saturday.
CJ Smith defended his sectional titles from last year, winning the 200 Free (1:44.77) and the 500 Free (4:36.34).
Smith will be looking for a state championship in the 500 Free after coming in second at last year’s meet. Once again, he will face off against Danny Thomson of Hinsdale Central.
“It should be exciting. The 500 is a really deep event in this state so you can’t really count anyone out. There’s 20 lengths so anything can happen,” Smith said. “Danny Thomson is obviously a great swimmer. I highly respect him so I think it’s a great opportunity to swim against somebody that fast.”
Before the swimming finals in the afternoon, junior Jordan Sacks and senior Matt Staab finished 1-2 in the 1-meter diving finals, both qualifying for the state championship.
Other sectional champions from New Trier included senior Matt Gagne (52.42) in the 100 Butterfly, Grodecki (47.18) in the 100 Free, Konrad von Moltke (59.05) in the 100 Breaststroke and Jack Mangan (52.49) in the 100 Backstroke.
New Trier will host the state championships next weekend.
“We’re pretty pumped up. All I know is we’re going to be there and we’re going to be ready to swim,” Smith said. “It’s a really competitive meet. It’s one of the most competitive swim meets in the country at the high school level so nothing’s ever given to you.”