Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 6:00 pm
By SEAN STILLMAKER Journal Sports
Loyola Academy's boys swim team is a tight knit group that swam through hardship all season.
They entered Glenbrook North's pool on Saturday unshaved with no special special suits (in complete contrast to the other 14 teams).
They swam and they conquered. The Ramblers took 1st place with 216.50 points, qualifying their team for this weekend's state finals at New Trier and setting two pool records.
"They got up and did that with their heart," said Loyola coach Dennis Stonequist.
Times and touch outs were the difference makers. The Ramblers held the lead throughout the sectional, but it all came down to the 400 free relay when Glenbrook South caught up.
The Ramblers swam like there was no tomorrow touching out the Titans by three seconds for 1st. The relay set GBN's pool record with their 3:10.41 finish. The Ramblers were also the ones to set it last year with a 3:11.67 time.
"It's not about winning, it's about teaching these kids something good or them teaching you, and I've learned a lot," Stonequist said.
The Ramblers came together as a team early in the season when captain Patrick Stein was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm. He's slowly making progress on his recovery, Stonequist said.
The team was also brought together when senior Jason Yasko's father passed away.
The senior finished his season with great swims in the fly (55.82) and backstroke (58.61).
Andrew Jovanovic put points on the board for the Ramblers being crowned sectional champion in the 50 free and fly.
"I just wanted to wear my Speedo and be the best that I can," Jovanovic said.
The Rambler faced fierce competition from Titan Thomas Pollick in the 50 free. Jovanovic finished in 21.33 seconds and Pollick just behind in 2nd in 21.60.
"The 50 was memorable, I got my lifetime best," Pollick said.
Jovanovic was untouched in the fly. He took 1st in 50.79 setting the pool record that was previously set by Titan Andrew Schmitt in 2007.
In individual events the Ramblers had points from Justin Pasquesi in the 200 free (5th, 1:44.02) and 100 free (4th, 47.57).
Brendan Hulseman scored in the 200 free placing 4th in 1:43.98. Patrick Rahill scored 5th (21.91) in the 50 free.
Michael Manhard was crowned sectional champion in diving with 470.65 points.
Teammate Michael Nash quickly followed in 3rd with 399.70 points.
The Titans lost to the Ramblers by half a point, but they qualified all three of their relays, three individual events and two divers.
"I thought it was stupendous," said Glenbrook South coach Keith MacDonald. The Titan goal from the beginning of the season was to qualify all their relays.
Both the Medley (1:37.09) and 200 free (1:26.57) relays took 1st place.
Ryan Hianik, J.J. Connor, Will Porter and Ryan Bach dropped six seconds from their seed time in the Medley relay.
Pollick, Porter, Connor and Bach dropped two seconds off their seed time in the 200 free relay.
Despite the touch out Ryan Brander, Connor, Porter and Pollick dropped four seconds from their seed time in the 400 relay placing 2nd in 3:13.02.
"We just cranked out some really good times and got where we needed to be," Pollick said.
Senior Ryan Bach scored big with his sectional crown in the 100 free. He beat Niles West's Scott Konner by a second for 1st in 46.66.
"I was a little worried going into the second 50 because a lot of those guys kick the back half pretty well," Bach said.
Bach also qualified in the 50 free placing 4th in 21.88.
The Titans had senior Will Porter qualify for state in the fly making it on the qualifying dot placing 5th in 53.45.
Seniors Adam Klosowiak and Tom Burke qualified for state in diving placing 2nd with 453 points and 6th with 334.70 points respectively.
The final state swimming competition will take place at New Trier High School this weekend.
Preliminaries begin Friday with diving at 9 a.m. and swimming at 3:30 p.m.
Those that advance will compete in the championship rounds Saturday starting at 1 p.m.