NORMAL - Champaign Central High School swim coach Will Barker saw the advantages Normal Community had at its disposal heading into the Big 12 Conference swim meet - a solid core of swimmers, including a Division I signee, and the fact the Ironmen were swimming at their home pool.
"We knew it was going to be close," Barker said. "We had to be focused today in order to swim fast."
The Maroons swam fast, and left everyone behind.
Central completely dominated the meet, placing 12 individuals or relay teams in the top three of their respective events, to capture its fourth consecutive conference title with 389 points, 75 points ahead of NCHS.
Champaign Centennial finished third with 270 points, while Normal West and Bloomington tied for fifth with 256 points.
"(NCHS) is a tough team," Barker said. "We knew they were going to come in here and throw everything they had at us. I am surprised we won by that much."
The margin of defeat didn't disappoint NCHS.
The Ironmen placed six individuals or relay teams in the top three of their respective events.
"We expected a second-place finish to Central," NCHS coach Vicki Kobel said. "We had some great varsity times and I feel that my team is where I want them to be before sectionals."
University of Iowa signee Brian Farris finished second in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events to Central's Tyler McGill, who will be swimming at Auburn University next season.
The 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams each finished second to Central.
"They all responded well to this meet," Kobel said. "They all worked hard at practice all week long and it showed today as far as their times. We had some big time drops."
No time dropped faster than BHS' 200 freestyle relay team.
The quartet of Chase Fillingham, Justin Wolfe, Tariq Muhammed and Brian Yount finished the relay in a time of 1 minute, 30.89 seconds, breaking the pool record by more than a second. The time is now the seventh fastest in area history.
"We look at season bests," BHS coach Bob Loy said. "For the most part our times were right there or faster."
Fillingham won the 100 backstroke, while Wolfe finished second in the 100 butterfly.
After finishing in seventh place last year, West coach Daniel Lloyd felt his team made a drastic improvement.
"It's a culmination of a real good year," Lloyd said. "We're right where we need to be heading into sectionals."
John Fahrenkrug took fourth in the 100 freestyle, finishing less than two seconds behind the champion. Cory Thomas captured fourth in the 500 freestyle.
Justin Ruszkowski took second place in the 1-meter diving competition.