Jon Salomon touched the wall. Mossimo Chavez touched the wall. Both had just completed the 50-yard freestyle at the state swimming and diving meet at New Trier High School last month.
One of the them touched first.
Was it Salomon, a Glenbrook South senior in lane 3? Was it Chavez, a Whitney Young senior in lane 2?
Salomon, a Skokie-based SWIFT Aquatics club member in the offseason, looked up at the scoreboard in the natatorium on Feb. 28. Chavez, also a SWIFT Aquatics swimmer, also looked up.
“It took about three seconds before we saw the times,” Salomon recalls.
One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand …
What they saw:
Salomon had captured the state championship in the event by an oh-so-scant hundredth of a second.
“What a great moment, seeing Jon react in the pool, seeing Jon smile,” Titans coach Keith MacDonald says. “He was relieved. He was excited. He also might have been a little numb. Priceless … his reaction was priceless.”
MacDonald will cherish several other moments from the state meet for years, including the instant (mere seconds after the 400 free relay, the meet’s final race) his crew had tied Naperville Central for third place (113 points) — the Titans’ fourth state trophy since 2007. Glenbrook South Sam Iida, a sophomore, clocked a 4:31.13 to smoke the 500 free field. The runner-up in the event, Hinsdale Central senior Adam Pircon, finished nearly three seconds later. Iida also sped to a runner-up showing in the 200 IM (1:50.91).
“Sam started the season in tremendous shape,” MacDonald says. “What he did in the 500 didn’t surprise me. He came home hard. He had a great season. He didn’t have any competition in the 500 [at state]. The 200 IM field … now that was tough competition, really tough. Sam gave a gutty effort.”
Titans junior Tommy Hagerty gave everybody present something to talk about at the state preliminaries on Feb. 27. Hagerty was seeded 25th in the 500 free (4:43.4), based on his sectional time. His missed a favorable circle seed by one spot. Somehow, without being pushed in his prelim heat, Hagerty still completed 20 laps in only 4:36.03.
Only one other swimmer in the event had motored faster than Hagerty did in the prelim session.
Iida, Sam Iida.
Hagerty’s teammate earned the top seed for the championship finals heat with a 4:32.01.
“Tommy, like Sam, worked hard in the offseason,” says the Wisconsin-bound Salomon.
Hagerty, unlike Iida, did not make Glenbrook South’s state series team as a 500 free entrant last winter, making his feat in a state prelim last month even more remarkable. Kevin Benson (Glenbrook South, ’14) and Iida went 5-6 in the 500 free at state last season.
Hagerty wound up fifth in the 500 free (4:38.57) among championship heat qualifiers on Feb. 28. From a state spectator in 2014, to the No. 25 qualifier in the 500 free, to a state medalist in the 500 free … Hagerty’s wonderful, memorable swim odyssey, in an eventful 12 months.
“Exciting to see, great to see,” MacDonald says of Hagerty’s breakthrough weekend. “Tommy made a big leap this year.”
Salomon also zipped to a third-place showing in the 100 free (45.4) and swam a swift leg on the third-place (400 free) and fourth-place (200 free) relays. Iida, Hagerty and junior Sam Salganik joined him on the 400 free unit; Hagerty and Salganik and senior Danny Dragman swam the other legs of the 200 free quartet.
“Jon kept getting faster and faster throughout the weekend,” MacDonald says, alluding to Salomon’s sensational 20.3 split as a lead-off leg (200 free relay) on the second day of state. “He was having so much fun. He was having a blast. He wanted to come back the next day and swim some more.
“I’m so happy for him. He works so hard. Starts and turns cost him at state last year. He was diligent all year this year, working on those starts and turns. Jon is such a serious competitor.”
Notable: MacDonald’s Titans boys team finished second, third and third at state from 2007-09. … Glenbrook South senior Aaron Ach, seventh in diving at state last winter, suffered a couple of broken fingers and a broken bone in a hand during his third dive in the state preliminaries on Feb. 27. The gamer executed two more dives. He finished 29th (171.35 points). … Glenbrook South’s 200 medley relay of Iida, Salganik, Hagerty and junior Byron Mandell placed 16th (1:35.99) at the state meet. … MacDonald, on Iida: “A real hard worker, full of energy. Great to have in practice. He really enjoys every aspect of swimming.” … MacDonald coaches his 10-year-old son, Kyle, during the baseball season. Both dad and son were part of a championship season last summer. “A bunch of trophies [high school swimming, youth baseball],” the coach said. “It has been a fun year.”
Sean Scarry, Sequential Man.
The Warriors’ talented senior finished runner-up in diving (476.45 points) at the state meet at New Trier on Feb. 28, extending his steady career ascent. Scarry took third (432) at state as a junior, a year after finishing fourth (411.25) at state.
It took a record-setting effort (555.4) from Marian Catholic senior Joey Cifelli to top Scarry at state last month.