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Boys Swimming: Sandburg’s O’Malley, H-F’s Kuchta earn titles

Homewood-Flossmoor's KevKuchtcompetes 200 medley relay Al Gillberg Invitational. | Steve Johnston~For Sun-Times Media

Homewood-Flossmoor's Kevin Kuchta competes in the 200 medley relay at the Al Gillberg Invitational. | Steve Johnston~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 14, 2013 6:36AM



In a meet that for 50-plus years has featured some of the best competition in the state, seniors Mike O’Malley, of Sandburg, and Kevin Kuchta, of Homewood-Flossmoor, showed they rank among the elite.

O’Malley won the 50-yard freestyle (22.29 seconds) and Kuchta won the 100 breaststroke (1:01.95) Saturday at the 52nd Sandburg Invitational that included six teams from last season’s state meet and other top individuals.

O’Malley led Sandburg to third place with 194 points. The Eagles finished behind champion Marmion (245) and runner-up Fenwick (221).

“I thought we did real well finishing third in this field,’’ Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo said. “There’s some heavy hitters here. Right now what’s important is racing, and I thought we raced real well today.’’

It was a busy day for O’Malley, who took third in the 100 freestyle and swam on the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:30.9) with Conor Gallimore, Kevin Tunney and Trevor Winans and the third-place 400 freestyle relay.

“I felt pretty good about today,’’ O’Malley said. “I kind of want to be a little better at this time of the season, but there’s time to make up for it. I have three more weeks until conference.’’

In addition to his first in the breaststroke, Kuchta was third in the 200 individual medley.

“There’s a lot of really good teams here that all have swimmers go to state every year,’’ Kuchta said. “Seeing all these really good swimmers come through here and then doing well at this meet, it’s really a good feeling.’’

The Eagles’ Winans contributed second-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (1:44.27) and 500 freestyle (4:46.85).

Diver Dean Boures took third (338.90) for Sandburg.

Returning state qualifier David Apps has been fighting the flu and placed sixth in the 200 IM and 10th in the breaststroke for Sandburg.

“This was kind of a breakout day for him,’’ Caliendo said. “Mechanically, he looked better.’’

The Sandburg coach also pointed to improvement from Gallimore, who placed fifth (54.96) in the butterfly.

“He was struggling for a while and he got back down to his time,’’ Caliendo said. “That was a good swim.’’

Brother Rice’s Mitch Strahlman (500 free) and Kevin Mayer (50 free) had third-place finishes and swam on the Crusaders’ third-place medley relay. Strahlman also was fourth in the 200 IM.



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