CoEd Varsity Swim & Dive
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Alton’s Clancy, Akal advance to state in two events each; EHS wins team title
Pete Hayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Marion | Hearst Illinois
Alton’s Noah Clancy heads for the wall on his way to a first-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke at Saturday’s Edwardsville Boys Swim and Dive Sectional Meet at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.
EDWARDSVILLE — For Alton High swimmers Noah Clancy and Caden Akal, the approach to reaching the IHSA Boys state Swim Meet has been a bit different than last season. But one things remained the same - they had to advance from sectional action before worrying about state.
That detail was taken care of in a big way Saturday at the Edwardsville Sectional Meet at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.
Clancy, a junior, advanced to the state meet by winning the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard breaststroke. Akal, a senior, swam state-qualifying times in the 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle.
The IHSA Boys State Swim and Dive Meet is set for Friday and Saturday at New Trier High School in Winnetka. Swimmers at Saturday’s sectional advanced by winning events or swimming state-qualifying standards.
“It feels great,” Akal said. “I’m really looking forward to the state meet. I think last year’s experience there will help me get ready for what’s coming. It’s a different kind of meet from any other meet I swim.”
Last year, Akal and Clancy, along with now-graduated Cole Akal and Matt Daniel put together a state-qualifying performance unmatched in AHS history by advancing to state in two relays and five individual events.
“We approached it a little differently this year,” Clancy said. “Last year, I think we had a little more pressure on us. We still are business-like about it, but I think there’s less pressure.”
In the backstroke, Clancy won in a time of 49.57 seconds, beating Mascoutah’s Cole junker, who was second in a state-qualifying time of 50.32. Michael Meyer of O’Fallon was third in a state time of 53.06.
In the breaststroke, Clancy’s winning time was 58.18 and runner-up McLain Oertle of Edwardsville had a state time of 59.63.
Akal, was one of four state qualifiers in the 50 freestyle. He was third in 21.52 seconds. Carter Nelson of Columbia was first in 21.02, followed by Edwardsville’s Porter LeVasseur in 21.19, Akal and Waterloo Gibault’s Max Kostelac in 21.72.
Akal’s state time of 47.28 in the 100 freestyle also came in a third-place finish. Nelson was first in 45.47 and LeVasseur was second in 46.93.
“I knew (Nelson and LeVasseur) would be tough to beat,” Akal said. “But I’m happy with my time. I’m glad to swim against fast swimmers like them because it makes you swim harder.
“I’d rather have a good time and finish third than win with a slow time.”
Clancy and Akal joined a pair of Edwardsville individuals and three Tigers relay teams as state qualifiers.
The Tigers’ LeVasseur advanced in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle, while Oertle qualified for state in the 100 breaststroke with a runner-up performance to Clancy.
Also qualifying was EHS diver Owen Kaufmann, the lone diver in the competition. He accumulated 391.85 points in his victory.
All three Tigers relay teams advanced with first-place performances, including the EHS 200 medley relay team of Matt Doyle, Oertle, Logan Mills and Matt Mendez; the 200 freestyle relay team of Mendez, Mills, Oertle and LeVasseur and the 400 freestyle relay team of Doyle, Noah May, LeVasseur and Oertle.
“Most races went as we expected,” Edwardsville coach Christian Rhoten said. “Getting all three relays to state is huge. And we had individuals who did a really good job.”
The state meet will be the first for all the Edwardsville swimmers except LeVasseur, who advanced to state in the 100 backstroke last year.
“It’s a different kind of meet,” Rhoten said of the state meet. “Looking ahead at it, I think we have a chance to get to a relay team to finals. Also, Porter will be focusing on making it to the finals. And we’ll put the experience in our back pocket and use hopefully be able to draw upon it in the future as well.”
As expected, Edwardsville won the team championship easily. Schools from the Springfield area, including last year’s runner-up Chatham Glenwood, were assigned to the Champaign Central Sectional, leaving EHS to beat only three other teams, O’Fallon, Jacksonville and Jacksonville Routt, for the crown.
The Tigers won with 278 points, followed by ‘Fallon with 153, Jacksonville 90 and Routt 28.
“It’s a lot more working when you’re hosting the sectional,” Rhoten said. “But it’s totally worth it to be in a first-class facility the swimmers are used to.”