Boys State Swimming: Sandburg entrants advance to finals
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media February 24, 2012 11:38PM
Updated: March 27, 2012 8:08AM
Counting on three relays and an individual swimmer advancing to Saturday’s championship and consolation heats, Sandburg was firing on all cylinders Friday.
The Eagles advanced all three relays and Matt Veldman in the 100-yard butterfly to give the team a chance to improve on the previous program best for a team finish.
“It’s going to be a great day for us (Saturday),” Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo said. “We’ve got a lot of opportunities in front of us and a lot of fun.”
Sandburg finished eighth as a team in 2010 and remains in position to improve on that mark. Saturday’s finals begin at 1 p.m. at Evanston High School.
In the butterfly, Veldman (49.43 seconds) came in seeded second overall and managed to cut almost a full second off his sectional time Friday to stay in the championship heat. Sandburg never has had an individual state swimming champion. Veldman sits in second behind Loyola’s Andrew Jovanovic (48.53).
“It was a good swim, but I got a little tired toward the end,” Veldman said. “That’s my focus (Saturday), finishing the race strong. It’s going to be all about bringing it home.”
As for the possible individual championship, Veldman is aware but not too concerned.
“It’s been a goal, and there is a little pressure,” Veldman said. “I wouldn’t be disappointed with that silver medal.”
All three Sandburg relay teams advanced to Saturday, including the 200 freestyle (2nd, 1 minute, 24.17 seconds), the 400 free (3rd, 3:06.12) and the 200 medley (9th, 1:35.39).
“It’s going to be a great challenge for these guys to hold on to second place,” Caliendo said. “I want our kids to come in (Saturday) and have fun. We’re going to pump them up, because our goal is to go top seven (as a team).”
The only other advancing Southland individual was Marian Catholic diver Joe Cifelli. The freshman was seventh with 285.95 points.
Lincoln-Way North’s Jake Pearson, seeded ninth in the 500 free, swam against Hinsdale Central’s Danny Thomson and New Trier’s Reed Malone. Thomson broke his own state record, with Malone finishing just .11 behind him.
Competing in such a fast heat, Pearson (4:40.45) cut time off his sectional time but could not make the cut for Saturday with a 14th-place finish.
“The competition here is outstanding,” Pearson said. “For me to get beat by 20 seconds (in my heat) is ridiculous. It was a lot of pressure, but I just have to work harder and come back hopefully more confident next year and be able to place.”