Winter Boys Swimming and Diving Preview 2022

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Let’s take a dive into the pool and check out our preview for boys swimming and diving. Joe Kennedy tells us what teams will be making a splash in the water this season. This preview is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

Neuqua Valley

We start off with your 2022 Dupage Valley Conference Champions, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats. After losing a very talented senior class in 2021, last season, the Cats’ went undefeated in conference dual meets and finished off the year with a conference championship. They weren’t done there though, In the IHSA sectionals, Neuqua’s swimming team score of 216 saw them take home that title by 33 points and send all three relay teams to state on top of several individuals. One of those individuals is now Sophomore Diver, Nathan Malinowski, who placed first at the diving sectional. Another returning diver for the Wildcats is Senior Thomas Kiefer, who placed two spots behind Malinowski at sectionals. On the swimming side, Dima Kondrashev and Steffan Anderson are two notable returnees, each of whom swam at State for the Wildcats. Neuqua Valley head coach Chad Allen expands on what other Wildcat swimmers can have an impact this year.

“You know, I think we had a couple of guys last year that did a great job for us, Alex Parkinson. He swam along with Aiden Dunn, who graduated last year in the five-hundred free (relay), and they would push each other every day in practice. So he’ll be one of the top 500 freestylers in the state. So we’re excited to have him back and then Ryan Emmons is also a Junior, had a great year last year and was part of a relay. So those are a couple of juniors that we’re expecting big things out of.”

Waubonsie Valley

We now move onto the Waubonsie Valley Warriors, who finished just 15.5 points behind Neuqua Valley swimming at the 2022 DVC championship. The 2021 conference champions are poised for another great year in the pool. They return Ethan Huynh and Sam Lohman from their 200-Yard Medley relay team that placed 4th at state which also broke the schools 200-yard record. Gone from that relay are Nathaniel Jefferson and Arnav Deshpande. Deshpande ended his Warrior career on a high note after finishing 5th in state for the 100-yard freestyle and 2nd for the 100-yard backstroke. Another notable returnee is Keian Lam, who as a sophomore placed 11th at State in the 100-yard breaststroke. Waubonsie opens their season on December 12 at home against St Charles East and Hinsdale Central.

Naperville Central

The Naperville Central Redhawks finished in third at the 2022 DVC championship. The Redhawks swimming team put up an impressive showing at last year’s sectional finals, where they finished third behind Plainfield North and Neuqua Valley. Graduating from their 2022 sectional first place 200-yard relay team are Henry Wagner, Caleb Yau and Steven Mander. That leaves now senior Alex Lakin as the lone returnee from that group. Lakin placed third in the 100-yard breaststroke at the sectional finals and ended the year with an 8th place finish at state. Junior Sam Lendzion is back in the pool this winter for Naperville Central, he finished third at sectionals in the 100-yard butterfly and competed at state in that race. On the diving board, junior Brady Bechtel is back for the Redhawks, who placed 2nd at the sectional finals.

Metea Valley

The Metea Valley Mustangs return one of the best swimmers in the DVC with Senior Jaeddan Gamilla. The recent University of Michigan commit broke the DVC championship meet 200-yard individual medley last winter with a time of 1:53.68. At the state meet, Gamilla finished 4th in the 200-yard Individual Medley and 3rd in the 100-yard breaststroke. He was joined by Tyler Leslie, George Wang and Henri Marchand in the 200-yard freestyle relay team that placed third in sectionals. Leslie and Wang have graduated, but Marchand remains with the program. Wang, last year’s conference 100-yard freestyle champion, now swims collegiately at Denison University in Ohio.

Naperville North

For Naperville North, last season included a lot of valuable experience for some underclassmen. Their 200-yard medley relay team that competed at state returns three swimmers. Gone from the bunch is Tyson Berg and returning are senior Adrian Lam and juniors Jonthan Wang and Ethan Herscher. Wang finished the DVC championship meet as the winner in the 50-yard freestyle and second in the 100-yard backstroke. His 3rd place finish in the 100-yard backstroke at sectionals was enough to compete at state last year. The team will jump into their season on December 3, when they travel to the Barrington Boys Swim and Dive Invite.

Benet Academy

We now finish up with the Benet Academy Redwings, who placed 5th in the MCAC championships last year. The Redwings will bring back all four swimmers from their state qualifying 200-yard medley relay team. From that squad is Junior Jacob Yuknis and seniors Brendan Smith, Jack Hansen and Jack Larson. Larson finished .02 seconds ahead of Neuqua’s Dima Kondrashev in the sectional final 50-yard freestyle. That effort helped him represent the Redwings individually at state. Smith is another Benet swimmer that competed individually at sectionals last year, where he placed 5th in the 100-yard breaststroke. Benet will start their season on December 2 when they travel to Downers Grove South for a dual.

Check out the other previews here!