When Aidan Teuber touched the wall to complete the fourth leg of Woodstock North co-op's 200-yard medley relay swim at Saturday's Stevenson Sectional, teammate Nick Phillips turned and looked at the scoreboard in panic and disbelief.
"I was like, 'Man, I can't believe it,'" said Phillips, a senior at Woodstock North competing in his final sectionals. "I looked up and saw the wrong name at first. I didn't think we made it, and these guys are going crazy."
Phillips soon realized why his relay partners – Teuber, Quinn Cynor and Gunner Dunnett – were so excited.
They were going to state.
"I looked at (Cynor and Dunnett), and they were going insane," said Teuber, also a senior at North. "I started screaming."
North co-op's 200 medley broke the program record with a time of 1:37.01, beating the state-qualifying time by three one-hundredths of a second and becoming the first North co-op relay to advance to state since 2006.
Phillips, Teuber, Cynor and Dunnett will be among a handful of local swimmers to compete this weekend in the IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet at Evanston Township High School. The preliminaries start at 3:30 p.m. Friday, with the top 12 finishers in each event advancing to Saturday's finals.
Cynor also qualified in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke and is seeded first in both of those events for Friday's preliminaries. The two-time Northwest Herald Boys Swimmer of the Year and Woodstock junior set pool records in both races at the Stevenson Sectional.
His 100 backstroke time of 49.53 broke the pool record of Matt Grevers, an Olympic medalist and 2003 Lake Forest graduate. His 200 free time (1:37.90) beat the pool record of 1:40.48, and would have been good for second place at state last year.
But at the end of his record-breaking day, his times were an afterthought. Cynor was more excited about what he and his teammates accomplished.
"I was tearing up right after the 200 medley," Cynor said. "It really shows the dedication and hard work we put in for that. These past three years it's been the talk, and we finally got it done.
"It was only by .03 (seconds) but we did it, and that's all that mattered. That's why I think this year is going to be way more fun. I'm going to have those guys with me. Racing with them is the best thing ever."
Cynor was sixth and ninth in the 200 free and 100 backstroke at last year's state meet, becoming the program's first state medalist since Brenden Dougherty and Brian Spittler in 2006.
No area boys swimmer has ever won a state title.
Valerie Tarazi, a 2018 Prairie Ridge graduate, was the last area swimmer to win a state title, placing first in the 100 free in 2015. Prairie Ridge junior Makayla Nietzel successfully defended her four state titles for athletes for disabilities last fall.
McHenry’s Brianne Fowles won state titles in the 200 and 500 free races in 1995 as McHenry County's first state swimming champion. Cynor has a shot at making history Friday and Saturday.
"It kind of depends who swims in his events," North co-op coach Ian Shanahan said. "Quinn's so good, there's only three or four kids at his level. We'll see. He could win, but we're hoping he'll be get top six in both events. He's got a shot."
Cynor said he will taper this week and be well-rested. In the past two years he took a more aggressive approach.
The state atmosphere provides thrills for everyone, both for first-timers and returners. That includes Cynor.
"The water shakes when you're swimming and the crowd is roaring," Cynor said. "It's really exciting to experience that. I can't wait."
Cary-Grove co-op's Peyton Richardson (200 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 medley relay) is going to state for the third time, and C-G co-op's Ben Castro (200 IM, 200 medley relay) and Jacobs co-op's Vince Chiappetta (500 free) are two-time qualifiers.
Richardson, Castro, Michael Bartczyszyn and Cole Seeger helped lead the Trojans 200 medley relay to state for the third consecutive year. Richardson has been a part of all three, Castro the past two.
"Cole and Mike have never swam in a state event, so I know they're pumped about it," said Richardson, a senior at Prairie Ridge. "We were only four tenths (of a second) from our school record. We're going to try and go for that this weekend."
Neither Castro, Richardson or Chiappetta advanced to the finals last year.
As a long distance swimmer, Chiappetta endures some of the longest wait times. He is seeded sixth in the 500 free.
"I usually listen to music, have something to eat or drink, just sit there and let everything, all the stress, be free," Chiappetta said. "Making it back to finals on Saturday is a big goal of mine."
Chiappetta, a junior at Jacobs, will have a teammate to help pass time. Jacobs co-op's Alec Orndahl, a senior at Dundee-Crown, makes his state debut in two events: the 200 IM and 100 butterfly. Huntley also will have a first-time qualifier: freshman Ben Rocks, who qualified in the 100 free.
"I was in shock at first and overcome by an immense joy that it paid off finally," Orndahl said. "I looked over and saw all of my teammates. Up in the crowd, I saw my parents. It was really an awesome feeling."
IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet
at Evanston Township High School, Friday (prelims) and Saturday (finals)
200 medley: Cary-Grove co-op (Peyton Richardson, Ben Castro, Michael Bartczyszyn, Cole Seeger), Woodstock North co-op (Quinn Cynor, Gunner Dunnett, Nick Phillips, Aidan Teuber).
200 free: Quinn Cynor, Woodstock North co-op, jr.
200 IM: Peyton Richardson, Cary-Grove co-op, sr.; Alec Orndahl, Jacobs co-op, sr.
100 butterfly: Ben Castro, Cary-Grove co-op, so.; Peyton Richardson, Cary-Grove co-op, sr.; Alec Orndahl, Jacobs co-op, sr.
100 free: Ben Rocks, Huntley, fr.
500 free: Vince Chiappetta, Jacobs co-op, jr.
100 backstroke: Quinn Cynor, Woodstock North co-op, jr.