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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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Men’s swim & dive places third at state

Men’s swim & dive places third at state

The men’s swimming and diving team wrapped up their season by tying for third at the IHSA State meet alongside Naperville Central, topping last year’s fifth place finish.

According to senior Paul Salay, the third place finish at state came as no surprise, as the team seemed to be destined for success, even at the beginning.

“From the start, our coach took us into a room and took out trophies from past years and he said we had a chance at something special,” Salay said. “We did that by tying for third at state.”

The team set the  goal of placing top three in state before the season began, according to senior captain Jon Salomon.

“All year we had a goal of getting a trophy and we were going into [State] with the expectation because we have some of the top swimmers…and strong relays,” Salomon said.

Salomon attributes part of the team’s ability to the younger swimmers that filled in spots that were left by last season’s seniors.

“A big part of the progression throughout the years is due to some of the younger guys improving and stepping up,” Salomon said.

In spite of finishing third, the team still questions what would have happened if everything fell in their favor, according to junior Tommy Hagerty.

“I think we left the State meet feeling a little like we left some in the pool,” Hagerty said. “If we would have finished first in the [400-yard freestyle] relay and [had] not lost Aaron Ach [due to an injury]  we would have won the entire meet…There is always going to be that ‘what if?’ in our heads.”

According to Ach, not being able to compete at state was a let down to the team, but his prior achievements soothed some of the disappointment.

“Having set the [GBS] pool record [in diving]…was special [because] that record was [from] 1993,” Ach said. “[I also set] the varsity record and the conference record. Even though I hurt myself at state and was unable to set my goal to be in the top three, [the records were] validation of all of the hard work I had put in these four years.”

Hagerty believes that the team’s tie wasn’t a huge loss, but it was still not ideal.

“It was bittersweet for us,” Hagerty said. “On one hand we achieved our goal, but on the other hand, it came down to just a coin toss to decide who got to take home the trophy. A coin toss we lost.”

However, the team reached their state goal and is getting a trophy made according to Hagerty.

“Winning a trophy means that we will always be remembered at Glenbrook South,” Salomon said. “The trophy will have all our names engraved on it, everybody will be able to remember the team who won it.”

MacDonald concludes that the state experience this year adds another proud moment to his book.

“We have tried to develop a culture of excellence in the program,” MacDonald said. “We have won four trophies in the ten years I have been here.  It makes me proud to watch our dedicated athletes achieve their goals.”

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