Galesburg boy in 100-backstroke final – Hallam’s prelim time sixth;
EVANSTON – At least two Journal Star-area boys will swim for medals today in the state swimming and diving championships.
In the championship heat of the 100-yard backstroke, Jared Hallam of Galesburg will attempt for a third consecutive race to improve his time. Peter Myers of Notre Dame will compete in the 200 freestyle consolation finals.
The top six times in the preliminary round Friday advanced to the championship heat. The next six will swim in the consolation finals.
“I felt really relieved,” said Myers, a senior whose time of 1:45.05 tied him with Libertyville senior David Hedge for 11th. “Getting to Saturday has been my goal ever since the end of last year and I came out here and was intimidated and scared.”
Myers, who also finished 20th in the 100 free, finished 24th in last year’s 200-free preliminaries. Today, he can get Notre Dame’s first boys points at a state meet.
“We set some big goals this season, and we just sealed the deal,” ND coach Shaun Ribordy said. “That was the icing on the cake for this season. We wanted to come up and score some points at the state meet.”
Ribordy sees Myers’ position as a positive for the finals.
“He’s in a good position, because he’s tied for 11th, he’s got one position and he can only go up,” Ribordy said. “And he’s a good head- to-head swimmer, so being in a race like that will help, too.”
Hallam’s 53.52-second time in the backstroke placed him sixth. His time was :00.3 better than the sectional time he improved by two seconds from the regular season.
“I was going for sixth,” said Hallam, a junior. “But I thought I could’ve gone faster.”
Like other JS-area competitors, Hallam also had a near miss.
Hallam, who finished 13th in the 100 butterfly with a time of :52.91, is one of three JS-area swimmers to be a first or second alternate for today’s finals.
“I knew if I was going to get in the top 12 in the fly I was going to have to go really fast,” Hallam said. “I had another time drop, though, so I’m happy.”
Dunlap teammates Jeff Bucher and Ben Rock also are alternates but needed swimoffs to determine where they placed after they tied with a competitor.
Rock and Lisle Benet’s Ben Gensler swam 1:00.48 in the 100 breaststroke prelims and shared 12th place. In the swimoff following the regular events of the meet, Rock had a slight advantage on Gensler, but Rock missed the third turn and Gensler edged him by :00.27 with a time of 1:00.57.
“I was between strokes (going into the third turn) and I had to glide for a long time,” Rock said. “That’s where he beat me. I was a little ahead going into that turn and I came off a little behind.”
Rock will be a first alternate after he swam the last heat of the 100 breaststroke (the second-to-last event), then the second heat of the 400 free relay before he took a 10-minute warmup for the swimoff.
Bucher is a second alternate in the 50 free after he finished a swimoff in :21.82. He barely beat the :22.02 of Barrington’s Sean Cloney.
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