NORMAL — With the season winding down, Normal West High School produced a winning progress report in the Intercity Swim Meet at Horton Pool on Tuesday, scoring 551 points to best runner-up Normal Community by 58.
“We had a tough weekend and came back really strong tonight so I was really pleased with what our times were and how we did,” said Wildcat coach Becky McGrew.
“We’ve got a lot of goals going on with what we’re doing in practice and how we’re kind of narrowing things down going into the end (of the season). We do have the goals set. Now we want to finish things.”
Defending champion University High took third (413) followed by Bloomington (373) and Central Catholic (206). Timing malfunctions delayed the meet, denied fans an instant view of times and forced several events to use manual clockings.
A meet known for high decibel cheering began with a moment of silence honoring late U High star Jake Miller, who died Jan. 2.
Cranking the noise back up were Normal West double winners Andrew Loy, who captured the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.41) and 100 freestyle (47.48), and Austin Hartke, who took the 50 freestyle (22.40) and 100 backstroke (54.04).
“I kind of wish the 200 had been a little bit faster,” said Loy, whose 100 time ranks 10th in Pantagraph area history. “I was hoping to go under 1:44. My 100 felt great. My 50 leadoff in both relays felt really good. I’m really ready for taper. I’m ready for sectional and state.
“It’s nice to prove we can do it (win the team title) without the twins (Justin and Tyler deDianous, who graduated). It’s a very nice final step up.”
Loy also swam on the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:29.51) with Hartke, Mike Weisenfelder and Kyle Kiper. Rounding out the Wildcat winners was Kiper in the 200 individual medley (2:01.68).
Hartke’s previous best 50 free was 22.55.
“It was definitely an eye opener,” he said of his 22.40. “I expected a close race and I was just happy to come out with the victory. I had no idea what place I was when I finished.”
Hartke noticed the backstroke was his specialty when he was 8 years old.
“I’ve just been working at it since then,” he said. “It’s a good event for me. I want to go 52 by the time sectional hits. I want to go under 50 at state.”
Diver George Metcalf of BHS, whose season got off to a slow start because of mononucleosis, lived up to his No. 1 seeding with a school record of 256.75 points that ranks fourth in Pantagraph area history. The old record of 252.20 (set under a slightly lower scoring format) was held by Joey Fleming in 2008.
“The takeoffs were kind of iffy, but I just tried my best to make it work,” said Metcalf, who hopes to become a state finalist.
The biggest upset of the night came in the 500 freestyle where No. 4 seed Andrew Woith of NCHS won in 4:49.31 to destroy his season best of 4:57.34.
U High winners included its 200 medley relay (1:42.68), 400 freestyle relay (3:23.47), Colton Stogner in the 100 butterfly (52.87) and Harrison Fudge in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.89).
The medley relay, which clocked a season best, included Harrison Fudge, Collin Brady, Stogner and Pinter. The 400 free relay included Stogner, Elijah Gray, Simon Heinrich and Anthony Williamson.