Ian Shanahan has seen many talented swimmers over 14-plus years as Woodstock North co-op’s boys swimming coach.
This year’s freshmen class, Shanahan said, easily is the most talented to enter the program in the past decade. But none of them have been able to match what Woodstock freshman Quinn Cynor already has accomplished.
Cynor, 15, became the first freshman under Shanahan to qualify for the boys swimming state meet when he finished runner-up in the 500-yard freestyle and third in the 100 butterfly at the Stevenson Sectional.
“It’s amazing,” Cynor said Wednesday at Woodstock North. “A lot of freshman and sophomore swimmers, really, anybody, it’s hard to get to state. To do it as a freshman in two events is a huge accomplishment, and that’s thanks to my great coaches and teammates.”
Cynor’s 500 free (4:38.71) was the ninth-fastest time out of 35 state qualifiers, and he will have a chance to become the first Woodstock North co-op state medalist since Brenden Dougherty and Brian Spittler in 2006.
The boys swimming state meet begins Friday at Evanston Township High School. Preliminary qualifying heats start at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Swimmers with the 12 fastest times advance to the finals, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“He’s unusually driven,” Shanahan said. “He’s a stud, no doubt. He’d swim four-hour practices every day if he could. He’s just crazy dedicated, crazy driven, works really hard, and, on top of that, he’s really, really skilled.”
Cary-Grove co-op qualified two relays, bringing the 200 medley relay of Noah Siegmeier (Prairie Ridge), Hunter Jackson (Prairie Ridge), Peyton Richardson (Prairie Ridge) and Kolin Fadden (C-G). The 200 free relay of Omid Babakhani (Crystal Lake Central), Cameron Castro (Crystal Lake South), Connor Dolezal (C-G) and Fadden is going for the third straight season.
Cynor made it his goal to advance to state as a freshman, and he made it in both of his individual events.
At the Fox Valley Conference Invitational, he beat the state-qualifying times in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly, earning Newcomer of the Year and Most Valuable Swimmer with Jacobs co-op’s Harold Ogaban and Elijah Stuart. He chose not to swim the 200 IM at sectionals, instead focusing on the 500 free.
He set a program record in the 500 free at sectionals, destroying his previous best time by 12.41 seconds. He previously set the 100 butterfly record at the FVC Invitational with a time of 51.79. At sectionals, he finished the fly in 52.24 to beat the state-qualifying time of 52.33.
Cynor, who started swimming at age 9, said he always has preferred distance races.
“I’ve always been a small guy, so I haven’t had that brute strength like others,” he said. “Keeping and holding paces is my thing. I’m always – even in the sprint races – coming back in the second half, which is kind of that distance trait. I’ve kind of been able to hold off the guys that are much bigger than me, and it’s really fun, just pounding those yards.”
There have been five Woodstock swimmers to place at state, according to IHSA.org. Shanahan said Cynor is the only freshman in program history to qualify for state in two events.
“He kind of made his goal already,” Shanahan said. “We wanted him just to qualify as a freshman. So our big thing is enjoy it. He’ll be able to kind of see where he is, and next year, hopefully place at state would probably be his goal. And if he does it this year, that would be awesome.”
Cynor said he has been training the same way for state as any other meet, even adding yardage.
“It’s a goal of mine to place, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s all about having fun,” Cynor said. “I’m not worried about it. If I get a medal, it’s good. If I don’t, I’ll just come back to practice the next couple of days, hit it hard again and prepare for the upcoming years.
“I’m going to be prepared. I’m going in knowing I’m one of the top guys (in the 500), and I have a good shot to place. I’m going to take that and use it as motivation. I’ve got a shot ... a huge shot.”
IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet
Where: Evanston Township High School
When: 3:30 p.m. Friday, preliminaries; 11 a.m. Saturday, finals
How the format works: The top 12 finishers in Friday’s swimming preliminaries make it to the finals Saturday.
Local athletes: Cary-Grove co-op (Omid Babakhani, sr., Cameron Castro, jr., Connor Dolezal, sr., Kolin Fadden, jr., Hunter Jackson, fr., Peyton Richardson, so., Noah Siegmeier, so.); Quinn Cynor, Woodstock North co-op, fr.
How they got here: Babakhani (Crystal Lake Central), Castro (Crystal Lake South), Dolezal (C-G) and Fadden (C-G) finished second in the 200-yard free relay at the Stevenson Sectional with a time of 1:27.22. It’s the third straight season the Trojans qualified for state in the 200 free relay. Siegmeier (Prairie Ridge), Jackson (Prairie Ridge), Richardson (Prairie Ridge) and Fadden were fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:37.09), cutting their seed time by 2.19 seconds. Cynor set a Woodstock North co-op record in the 500 free (4:38.71), finishing second, and was third in the 100 butterfly (52.24). He swam the fly in 51.79 at the Fox Valley Conference Invite. His 500 free time is ninth fastest of 35 state qualifiers.