The year 1979 will be on the minds of Highland Park High School’s boys swimming and diving team members at this weekend’s sectional in the home water.
That was when a Giants boys crew last won a sectional championship.
“It should be fun and exciting, competing at our place with a good chance to win a big meet,” HPHS coach Tim Sirois said last weekend, adding other contending schools in the 15-team field include Mundelein, Warren Township and Deerfield high schools.
The year 1968 surfaced at the Central Suburban League North Meet at Vernon Hills High School on February 9. Giants senior Andrew Vorobev supplanted the meet mark in the 100-yard butterfly—a record (52.5) that had stood for 51 years.
You remember ’68, among the most tumultuous years in U.S. history. But the year ended on a feel-good note, three NASA astronauts becoming the first humans to orbit the moon.
Vorobev clocked a 52.03 in the 100 fly last weekend.
“My dad[50-year-oldVlad],”a smiling Vorobev noted, “is almost as old [as the life of the previous record in the event].”
Winning never gets old. Highland Park’s other victor at the CSL North Meet was junior Tobe Obochi, who sped to a 21.86 in the 50 freestyle, a time in the neighborhood of his personal-best 21.79. But he, like Vorobev, wasn’t fully tapered for the six-team gathering.
A league or conference meet in swimming is unique. Each season many competitors on each team enter fully tapered since the meet is their last meet. The league or conference meet is essentially their “state meet”. The top racers on each team, meanwhile, usually arrive exhausted, partially rested, with their sights set on peaking at either a sectional meet or the state meet.
Vorobev lifted weights last week. Hard. He didn’t take it easy in the pool, either. His taper?
“About 10 percent,” he said last weekend. That record he set in the fly was actually slower than his seed time—and school-record time—of 51.43. Look for that time to drop this weekend (Febru- ary 16) at the sectional meet and then drop some more at the state meet (February 22-23, at New Trier HS).
Sirois’ club totaled 339 points last weekend, finishing runner-up to Glenbrook North (424) and well ahead of third-place Deerfield (266). Vorobev and Obochi each motored to a runner-up showing, with Vorobev going 52.83 in the 100 backstroke and Obochi touching in 1:00.87 in the 100 breaststroke. The pair joined Richard Heller and Alex Gordon to claim runner-up honors in the 200 medley relay (1:38.32) and collaborated with Bora Hopali and Konrad Schmid for the silver in the 400 free relay (3:17.87).
“Coach Sirois tells us to daydream about swimming, about our races … to imagine how we’d execute during a race,” the Northwestern University-bound Schmid said after a dual with visiting
New Trier on February 1, when his personal-best time of 2:02.37 topped the 200 IM field in a 107-79 loss.
Forgive the swimmers if you happen to catch them sporting faraway looks and bumping unintentionally into lockers inside HPHS.
“If they’re daydreaming at school,” Sirois said, “it’s best that it’s about swimming, right?”
Reality for Sirois was his 200 free relay’s electric time of 1:28.72, a program record set against NT’s Trevians earlier this month. Obochi, Ryan Tran, Gordon and Vorobev served as the unit’s legs. The 6-foot-2, 160-pound-ish Obochi will compete in all three relays at this weekend’s sectional.
Each of the Giants’ other two quartets (200 medley, 400 free) has a realistic shot at lowering a school record before the end of the month.
“Seeing our relays come together like they have has been good to see,”Obochi said.“All of us have that relay-team mentality you have to have. I like that it’s not all on me; all the guys are there to help you, to swim fast for the team.”
HP’s other top-six efforts at the CSL North
Meet: 400 free relay (second place, 3:17.87— Vorobev, Hopali, Schmid and Obochi); 200 free relay (third, 1:32.31—Gordon, Tran, Hopali and Schmid); Schmid (200 IM, third, 2:03.93); Heller (third, 100 back, 56.1); Lucas Absler (diving, fourth, 371.15 points); Heller (fourth, 200 IM, 2:05.93); Hopali (fourth, 100 fly, 54.38; fifth 200 free, 1:52.44); Uly Noffsinger (fifth, 100 breast, 1:04.14; fifth, 200 IM, 2:08.06); 200 medley relay (fifth, 1:45.13—Colby Treschl, Jake Reisner, Ethan Noffsinger and Tran); Ethan Noffsinger (sixth, 100 fly, 55.84); Reisner (sixth, 500 free, 5:18.03); and Treschl (sixth, 100 back, 1:00.39).
Notable: Three former Giants entrants owned CSL North Meet records before last weekend’s division meet at VHHS. Two of the marks fell, but Levy Nathan’s 1:40.91 in the 200 free (set in 2016) remained intact. Glenbrook North’s 200 medley relay, with a time of 1:36.59, bettered HP’s 1:36.77, established in ’16, and Glenbrook North’s Ryan Purdy won the 100 back in 50.88 to take down Ben Laedlein’s 53.16, achieved five years ago. … Obochi, on his brother, eighth-grader Kevin: “He thinks he’s better at video games than I am. He’s quieter than I am. As for swimming, he’s good, very good. His times in high school will be faster than mine.”