The Lincoln-Way North High School boys swim team is poised to make a strong showing at the 2013 state championship.
“They just step up to the challenge,” said Head Coach Pat Shaughnessy.
The team recently took first place at the Southwest Suburban Red Conference Championship, winning every event except the 200-yard freestyle relay, and returning from a 20-point lag after day one of the two-day competition.
“Everything came together perfectly,” said Shaughnessy.
This weekend, the boys will move on to sectionals.
Since the creation of the team following North’s split from Lincoln-Way East five years ago, the Phoenix have won sectionals twice. North also became the only school from the south suburbs to produce a state champion in the past 20 years when Kyler Vanwol won the 100-yard butterfly in 2010.
Shaughnessy says the 2013 team consistently delivers as a united front and that the swimmers’ skills are evenly distributed. No one athlete carries the group. He hopes to qualify swimmers in eight or nine state events out of the existing twelve.
“It’s definitely a team really getting it done,” he said.
Standout swimmers include junior Evan Surma, senior Captain Tony Mikrut and senior Captain Jake Pearson.
“It’s everything I’ve worked for,” said Surma, of a possible state medal.
Pearson, who swims the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, has come close to medaling in the top 12 at the state championship multiple times during the past two years.
“Nerves got the best of me,” he said. “I’m definitely hoping to medal in both my events.”
Shaughnessy says that the greatest challenge for the team at this point in the season is qualifying for state at sectionals this weekend, while still maintaining focus on peaking later in the season at the state championship. However, he has high expectations.
“They don’t really realize how good they are,” Shaughnessy said.
Get news alerts and Facebook updates from these Lincoln-Way Patch sites:
- New Lenox newsletter and New Lenox Patch Facebook