Boys swimming: St. Charles North heads back to state as 2-time defending champs
St. Charles North coach Rob Rooney throws around the superlatives when talking about his star senior Aleksej Filipovic.
"I have been blessed with great swimmers in my 22 years at St. Charles North," said Rooney. "Aleksej has a winning mentality and is a very hard worker. He has the mentality that he will not be beaten. He has integrity and is a genuine human being. He is great with the younger kids. He is the last warrior left from the state championship teams."
Filipovic, a state champion in the 100 butterfly and a runner-up in the 50 freestyle as a sophomore in 2020, won 2 individual events to help lead St. Charles North to the St. Charles East sectional title Saturday with 276 points.
The North Stars head to the state meet as 2-time defending state champs winning in 2019 and 2020.
The talented senior, who will swim at Texas, won the 200 individual medley in a clocking of 1:51.00 and claimed top honors in the 100 butterfly in 49.36.
"I know I am the hunted next week," said Filipovic. "With no state meet last season I am really looking forward to next week."
Filipovic was also on the second place 400 freestyle relay which qualified for the state meet with a time of 3:09.81. Joining Filipovic on the state qualifying team were Robby Kemp, Stephen DelBello and Aidan Allamian.
With Filipovic, Kemp, Kriz Kane and Hunter Freeland, the North Stars qualified for state with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:26.05.
The North Stars took top honors in the 200 medley in a time of 1:35.69. The winning team consisted of DelBello, Kane, Kemp and Freeland.
Other than Filipovic, Kane won the 100 breaststroke in 57.42. and qualified in the 100 butterfly with a second-place finish in a time of 51.29.
Brett Suhr won the 1 meter diving with 437 points. St. Charles East's Jack Scalise was second with 339.60 points followed by North's Skyler Bell (319.50) and South Elgin's Colin Van Der Karr (247.40). All four qualified for state.
Other qualifiers for the North Stars were Williams Duet Meyer (third, 500 freestyle, 4:41.68 and fifth, 200 freestyle; 1:44.14), and DelBello (second. 100 backstroke, 52.77).
St. Charles East, led by Jack Redden and Kyle Algrim, placed third with 226 points.
"Jack and Kyle were outstanding," said Saints coach Adam Musial. "Jack is the senior leader on the team and Kyle is a younger version."
Redden won the 50 freestyle in a time of 21.44 and qualified for the 100 butterfly with a third place time of 51.71.
Redden was a key part of the third place 200 freestyle relay which qualified with a time of 1:27.33. Joining Redden were Algrim, Chris Souk and Will Murray.
"It has been hard with the pandemic," said Redden. "I am just pushing through and I am relieved to be swimming at the state meet next week."
Algrim, only a sophomore, excelled at Saturday's meet.
He won the 200 freestyle in 1:41.70 and the 500 freestyle in 4:36.31.
"I was nervous but had a lot of adrenaline," said Algrim. "All the hard work paid off."
St. Charles East junior Leo Czerwinski qualified for four events in the athletes with disabilities category. The Saints junior qualified in the 200 freestyle, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
West Chicago was second with 251 points.
The Wildcats' top performer was Brady Johnson who won the 100 backstroke in 50.26.
"I have really worked on my underwater swim," said Johnson. "It will be fun to swim my club friends next week at the state meet."
Johnson finished second in the 200 intermediate with a state qualifying time of 1:55.00.
The Wildcat sophomore was also on the winning 400 relay team with a time of 3:09.81. Logan Townsend, Gavin McCullough and Mason Smith joined Johnson.
McCullough qualified for state with a second place finishes in the 50 freestyle in a time of 21.52. and 100 freestyle in 47.25.
Townsend was runner-up in the 200 freestyle with a state qualifying time of 1:41.83 and qualified in the 500 freestyle in second.
South Elgin's Domen Schlueter will make the trek to the state meet by winning the 100 freestyle in a time of 46.54.
"I just put my head down and breathed," said Schlueter. "It is an amazing feeling to go to the state meet."
With a fourth-place finish in the in the 200 freestyle, Schlueter had a qualifying time of 1:43.68.
The lone qualifier for Bartlett was Anthony Martin, who was third in the 100 freestyle in 47.28.