CoEd Varsity Swim & Dive
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Alton’s Clancy captures third in state backstroke finals
Clancy fights fatigue for 3rd in backstroke
Pete Hayes, email@example.com
Alton High junior Noah Clancy with the third-place medal he won Saturday in the finals of the 100-yard backstroke at the IHSA Boys Swim and dive State Meet in Winnetka.
WINNETKA — Alton High’s Noah Clancy knew he’d be tired and sore before the backstroke finals at Saturday’s IHSA Boys State Swim Meet. But he also knew how much he wanted to win a medal at the prestigious state meet.
Clancy, a junior, fought off the soreness from Friday’s prelims, and captured the third-place medal in the 100-yard backstroke finals Saturday at New Trier High School.
“Truthfully, I was more sore today than I was in my second race yesterday,” Clancy said, referring to back-to-back prelim races in the 1o0 backstroke and 100 breaststroke Friday. “I think that besides the races being so close, the whole atmosphere here got to me a little bit. But it all worked out OK.”
Clancy finished the backstroke in a time of 49.55 seconds, being out-touched at the wall by Barrington’s Griffin O’Leary, who was second in 49.53. Glenbrook North’s Ryan Purdy was slightly faster yet in 49.21 and captured the state championship.
“You always want to finish higher, but I’m not mad at all,” Clancy said. “I mean, I medaled at state. How can you not be happy with that?”
In the backstroke final, Clancy out-touched friendly rival cole Junker of Mascoutah for third place. Junker, a senior, was fourth in 50.04.
“Cole and I set a goal that we wanted to make the top six at state,” Clancy said, “and we did.”
Junker and Clancy had competed against each other for “at least four years,” Clancy said. Clancy swims for the Tri-City Area YMCA Tidalwaves and Junker swims for the Flyers Aquatic Swim Team in St. Louis. As high schoolers, each competes at the sectional and state levels only, since neither Mascoutah or Alton High has a full-season varsity swim team.
“It’s a friendly competition between us and it’s pretty back-and-forth. I’m glad we represented the southern part of the state pretty well.”
Clancy headed into the state meet as the No. 1 seed. He qualified for Saturday’s finals with a sixth-place finish in Friday’s prelims. And immediately after that race, was up on the starting block for the prelims of the 100 breaststroke. With no time to rest, Clancy’s time ballooned and he finished out of the running for the finals.
Since he had finished as the last qualifier in the finals, Clancy swam in an outside lane Saturday, which makes it more difficult to judge the pace of the fastest swimmers.
“I could only see one guy on my side,” Clancy said, “but in the finals its’s more of an all-out race than just about your time. I was able to cope.”
Clancy said he forgot about the soreness and he felt good once the race started.
“My start was a lot better than yesterday,” he said. “I thought on my first turn, I was a little too close, but I felt pretty good about it after that.”
The trip to the state meet was Clancy’s third in as many years and his best yet.
“I have a goal already to finish higher next year,” he said. “I swim a lot of meets during the year, but none of them are like this. It’s in an old-school pool and it’s crazy. Nothing compares to it.
“And to say you won a medal at the Illinois state meet goes a long way.”