EVANSTON – Woodstock North co-op’s Quinn Cynor was in a smiling mood Friday after his 200-yard freestyle swim at the IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet preliminaries, even if the two-time Northwest Herald Swimmer of the Year didn’t have the fastest time.
Cynor had to settle for third place with Loyola Academy’s Luke Maurer, last year’s 200 free champion, setting a state record in 1:34.49. St. Charles East’s Calvin Windle was runner-up in 1:38.62, and Cynor (1:39.06) was third.
“A lot of these guys, I’ve been racing forever,” Cynor said. “I had a lot of fun with it. We all just looked at each other and smiled after. I’m feeling good and strong. Tomorrow, definitely, I want to come back a lot faster.”
Cynor, who attends Woodstock, will be back at Evanston Township on Saturday for a pair of “A” (championship) finals. The junior took sixth in the 100 backstroke (50.13) and will try to improve on both of his places. Saturday’s finals start at 11 a.m.
“The two ‘A’ finals, going in, that was the goal, and that’s what I did,” Cynor said. “They may not have been the best swims, but I’ll tighten up for tomorrow and really work on some things to improve my stroke, my kick count, everything.”
Last year as a sophomore, Cynor became the program’s first state medalist since Brenden Dougherty and Brian Spittler in 2006, placing sixth in the 200 free. With two top-six finishes on Friday, Cynor guaranteed himself of two more medals – no matter where he finishes Saturday.
Cynor, who went into the state meet with the top two times in both of his events, called his 100 backstroke “sloppy.”
Still, he wasn’t discouraged by his results.
“Even with it being sloppy, it was still a good swim,” Cynor said. “I definitely didn’t have my best day, but when you don’t have your best day and can still make two finals, you will take it.”
Cynor wasn’t the only local swimmer to qualify for Saturday’s finals.
Cary-Grove co-op’s Ben Castro was 12th in the 100 butterfly in 50.40, getting the last spot over Urbana University’s Andrew Lin (50.48). The Crystal Lake Central sophomore will have a chance to move up in the “B” (consolation) finals.
Castro was making his second straight state appearance, but that did not cure any nerves.
“It’s such a different pool from last year [at New Trier],” Castro said. “It’s way louder here. I don’t remember it being this loud. It’s just crazy here. It’s all I’ve been thinking about, making it back [to Saturday]. I was pretty worried on the blocks. I was shaking it was so loud.
“But I’m going to go all out [Saturday]. I got all of the worries out.”
Castro, who swam earlier with C-G co-op’s 200 medley relay, had his teammates and coaches nearby to cheer him on.
“It feels good to have those guys here,” Castro said. “It makes you go
10 times faster.”
Jacobs co-op junior Vince Chiappetta finished 29th in the 500 free (4:46.82). His teammate, senior Alec Orndahl, was making his state debut and took 37th in the 100 butterfly (53.19) and 37th in the 200 IM (1:59.73).
“I’m really proud just to get here, it was a cool experience,” Orndahl said. “I have to admit, it’s a little intimidating, but at the same time, I know I put in the work to get here. It feels great to race against some really strong competitors.”
Jacobs co-op coach Molly Gomberg has coached Orndahl since he was about 6 years old. Seeing him reach this level was a thrill.
“To see him here, his senior year, it’s awesome,” Gomberg said. “I think he expected to be here, but to see it happen and experience it is another thing.”
Gomberg and Chiappetta, who had the sixth-fastest 500 time entering state, are already talking about ways to improve for next season.
“Vince was expecting more out of himself, but what we talked about was using this as a learning experience,” Gomberg said. “He should be very proud of his swim. He has big goals for next year. We’re definitely going to attack those and learn from it. I would love to see him qualify in more than one event.”
C-G co-op senior Peyton Richardson took 20th in the 100 butterfly (51.36) and 28th in the 200 IM (1:56.18).
Huntley freshman Ben Rocks was 35th in the 100 free (48.62).
North co-op’s 200 medley relay of Cynor, Gunner Dunnett, Nick Phillips and Aidan Teuber placed 25th (1:37.86). C-G co-op’s 200 medley relay of Castro, Richardson, Cole Seeger and Mike Bartczyszyn took 29th (1:38.09).
“I was just excited that we all had fun,” Seeger said. “This is a meet where you just go out there and see what you can do. Being on a relay, it’s just fun to push each other. We did that.”