WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock co-op boys swimming team entered the second-to-last event – the 100-yard breaststroke – in second place behind Lincoln-Way North in the fifth annual Woodstock Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Woodstock North. The Blue Streaks needed a good performance in the event to have a shot at winning, and Adam Steinken and Henry Gantner came through.
Steinken entered the event with the fastest seed time of 1:04.19, and he beat that mark by more than a second for first place in 1:03.08, his best time of the season. Gantner took third.
Though Lincoln-Way North won the meet's final race, the varsity 400 free relay, it didn't score points in the freshman/sophomore race, so the Blue Streaks' third-place finish in the event gave them enough points (565.5) for the title.
Steinken, Gantner and Morgan Hofmann each won individual events for the Blue Streaks and contributed to the three relays.
Hofmann swam a personal best to win the 100 freestyle in 50.63 seconds and took third in the 100 backstroke. Gantner won the 50 freestyle in 22.6.
"I had been sick all week, so I was really happy to go a best time in my 100," Hofmann said. "I put up a pretty good time in my backstroke, but I didn't put in nearly enough effort as I probably should have, but I was trying to save up a little for the last relay. I was pretty happy overall with my swims, and I think everyone had a really good day today."
Gantner said it was nice to be able to swim at the Blue Streaks' home pool while facing stiff competition. He believes it will ready them for a tough upcoming week when they will swim against Jacobs co-op and Cary-Grove on Wednesday and Friday.
"It's really great," Blue Streaks coach Ian Shanahan said of his team's first-place finish. "We did really well. We had a lot of sickness going around this week – it seemed like everyone had something – so we were battling through that, but we did well and I was happy.
"One reason that it's nice to win this meet is because it is a team-concept meet, and if you have one weak class, then it kind of burns the outcome as a team, so it's definitely a team win instead of just being carried by a couple fast guys."
The meet incorporated the freshman and sophomore levels in the relays, and the 50 and 100 freestyles were broken into the four class levels. That style especially played to the strength of the McHenry team, which finished fourth overall with 492.5 points with the help of its fast underclassmen.
The Warriors have a young team, with one senior and two juniors. The rest are freshmen and sophomores. McHenry took first place in all three frosh/soph relays and saw individual first-place finishes from freshman Kevin Braun.
Braun won the 50 and 100 freestyle events in record-setting fashion. He smashed the 100 freestyle meet record by more than four seconds and the 50 freestyle mark by nearly a second.
"He is really something," Warriorscoach Craig Fowles said. "It's just great when a guy can come in a do something like break two records."
Fowles also had high praise for senior Adam Jensen, who finished second behind Hofmann in the 100 freestyle in 50.71 and took third overall in the 50 freestyle.
"Adam comes in here and busts his butt every day," Fowles said. "He is starting to post some amazing times, and it really makes me happy. I'm looking forward to having a good couple of weeks before tapering (the workouts of) these guys. I bet some will come pretty close to making state."