St. Charles North's Filipovic wins 2 state titles in final high school meet

  • St. Charles North's Aleksej Filipovic celebrates winning the 200-yard individual medley state championship at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont Saturday.

      St. Charles North's Aleksej Filipovic celebrates winning the 200-yard individual medley state championship at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Aleksej Filipovic swims breaststroke in the 200-yard individual medley.

      St. Charles North's Aleksej Filipovic swims breaststroke in the 200-yard individual medley. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Aleksej Filipovic celebrates his victory in the 100-yard butterfly during the boys state swimming and diving finals at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont Saturday.

      St. Charles North's Aleksej Filipovic celebrates his victory in the 100-yard butterfly during the boys state swimming and diving finals at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Cary-Grove's Kameron Fadden leaves the starting block in the consolation final of the 400-yard freestyle relay Saturday.

      Cary-Grove's Kameron Fadden leaves the starting block in the consolation final of the 400-yard freestyle relay Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Gregg Voss
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/26/2022 5:55 PM

Deuces were wild Saturday for St. Charles North senior Aleksej Filipovic at day two of the boys state swimming and diving championships.

And by wild, we mean wildly successful.

 

Filipovic snagged not one, but two individual state titles -- in the 200-yard individual medley, with a time of 1:46.14, just .12 away from the state record, and in the 100 butterfly, with a time of 47.60 seconds, just edging Barrington senior Griffin O'Leary (47.99).

It was Filipovic's third and fourth state titles, and his third in the butterfly.

"Winning two state championships my first two years was amazing," Filipovic said. "The third year with COVID we couldn't do much, but I still had a great time, and this year, we had pretty good relays, and I swam what I had to swim."

Filipovic also led off the North Stars' 200 freestyle relay, which took sixth in 1:25.41. That was good enough to lift his team to an eighth-place finish, with exactly 50 points.

Now that it's all over, what's he going to remember most about high school swimming after he leaves to swim at the University of Texas?

"I would say there are some people you really bond with, so you have your relays as your best friend group," Filipovic said.

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Cary-Grove senior Ben Castro equaled his top-flight performance in Friday's preliminaries by finishing fifth in the 100 butterfly, a little under 2 seconds behind Filipovic.

He also raced legs on the seventh-place 200 medley relay (1:34.67) and the meet-capping 400 freestyle relay, 10th in 3:08.59.

Of the 100 butterfly, Castro said, "It's the second day, so you're trying to tweak out whatever you did the first time. It was good."

Another senior who saw his high school career end on a high note was South Elgin's Domenico Schlueter, who finished eighth in the 100 freestyle, in a time of 46.32 seconds, just .09 behind consolation champion Jack Wanless of Lyons.

Schlueter, who was seeded 12th, had it a little tougher than his counterparts because he was racing in Lane 2, where there was no one to pace him on his left since Lane 1 was open. Never mind that, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At the 50-yard mark, Schlueter was the last to make his turn, but he rallied to finish second in the consolation heat.

"I knew I was falling behind; I didn't know I was dead last," Schlueter said. "So I just on that third 50, dropped a gear and disappeared."

What will he remember most about high school swimming?

"Just being with the team and having fun," he said. "On our team, we like to say fun is more important than work. All the memories I have is insane. That's the greatest part."

St. Charles East's Kyle Algrim is just a sophomore, so he's got a couple of years to build memories of state. He started by finishing eighth in the 500 freestyle, in 4:33.31, just .04 behind consolation heat champ Ward Wilson of New Trier.

"It's not an easy race," Algrim said, perhaps the understatement of the meet. "It's going to start to hurt early on, and you have to keep with it. My strategy was to stay with the guy next to me, and I tried to get him on that back half."

Junior Sean Wehner led Marmion by winning the consolation heat of the 100 backstroke in 49.69, an effort that placed him seventh overall.

"I'm really proud of that," Wehner said. "Yesterday I did not have as great of day as I wanted. I added in my fly and dropped in my back. Today's performance was really exciting for me, because I was able to break my team's record in the backstroke."

Finally, there is the case of Huntley senior Gavin Heard, who won all four Athletes With Disabilities events -- the 200 freestyle (2:08.48), 50 freestyle (26.44), 100 freestyle (55.32) and the 100 breaststroke (1:11.04).

Not a bad day at the office for a youngster who noted that state is a much different animal, perhaps another understatement.

"It's so much different than regular meets, because it's more crowded and louder," Heard said. "It's a different atmosphere. It was intimidating."

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