Tired Lions swim their best at sectionals
Western Springs, IL - Saturday, February 16, 2013: Lyons' Brendan Weibel reacts to winning the 200 yard freestyle and quallifying for State during the Sectional Swim Meet at Lyons Township. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
At Class 4A York Regional, 7:30 p.m.
At Schaumburg Sectional, 7:30 p.m.
At Hinsdale Central Invite, 6 p.m.
At Andrew, 6 p.m.
GIRLS ICE HOCKEY
At Darien (Wales) vs. Andrew Rattlers, 8 p.m.
Hosts (at South) vs. OPRF, 4:30 p.m.
Hosts (at South) vs. Marist, 5 p.m.
At York Invite, 5 p.m.
BOYS WATER POLO
At OPRF, 6 p.m.
Hosts (at South) Hinsdale S., 6 p.m.
GIRLS WATER POLO
At Brother Rice vs. Mother McAuley, 7 p.m.
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:46AM
WINNETKA — There wasn’t a more tired team in the water at the state finals Friday than Lyons.
That’s because no team worked harder to get there.
“In all my years of coaching I’ve never had a group of guys swim so hard just to qualify for a state meet,” coach Scott Walker said. “I’m really happy because I think the boys did everything physically and mentally to qualify for Saturday. They left everything in the pool.”
Lyons overcame a grueling sectional to send a staggering 13 different swimmers to the finals at New Trier on Feb. 22. For comparison, eventual champion New Trier had 14 total swimmers.
While most of the top teams taper toward the end of the season in order to swim their fastest times in the final meet of the year, Lyons couldn’t afford such a luxury. They went all-out, all the time, and simply hoped their churning limbs wouldn’t give out.
It was a strategy that worked shockingly well all year. They just came up a race short.
“We started out as a bunch of no-namers,” Walker said. “Everyone took us for granted. And we trained hard all season hard; we didn’t lay off the gas pedal for any practice or any meet, which means we swam tired most of the year.
Most teams will rest a couple of days for a meet. And we just don’t do that.”
The team’s three stars, seniors Peter Dore and Joe Shannon, and junior Brendan Weibel, all swam four races at the state finals, including together in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. They finished 26th and 31st in those race, respectively, and it was clear that asking them to duplicate the magic they produced at sectionals was an impossibility.
“We definitely put all our marbles into sectionals,” Weibel said. “We wanted to swim as fast as we could then. I think that definitely did help, because everyone dropped enormous amounts of time. Our goal was to get as many people to state as we could, and in order to do that we had to go all-out at sectionals.”