What a day it was Saturday for the Pekin co-op boys swimming and diving team.
The Dragons returned from the Normal Community Sectional with state meet qualifiers in two individual events and one relay, and three broken school records.
“I’m super proud of my boys. Most of them dropped times and had personal-bests. For a first-year coach, I really couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Pekin coach Christine Dunn.
“It was a fast and exciting sectional,” Dunn said. “I’m looking forward to going to Evanston (this coming weekend for the state meet).”
Pekin’s Adam Peterson qualified for state in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, and was on the Dragons’ state-qualifying 200 freestyle relay team. School records were broken in all three events.
The Dragons’ Jack Marlatt also qualified for state in the 50 freestyle and was on the 200 freestyle relay team.
Normal U. High’s Colton Stogner won the 50 freestyle (:20.97).
Peterson (:21.10) and Marlatt (:21.47) were right behind Stogner in second and third place. Each Pekin senior beat the state cut time (:21.86) and Peterson broke Marlatt’s school record (:21.43) set two weeks earlier at the Mid-Illini Invitational.
“I don’t think our story is over yet this season in the 50 freestyle,” Dunn said.
Peterson also finished second in the 100 freestyle (:46.48). The state cut was :47.72. Peterson broke Noah Barnard’s former school record (:46.97) set in 2016.
Stogner won the 100 freestyle (:46.14).
Marlatt, Tyler Cummins, Alex Kula and Peterson were second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.60). The state cut was 1:27.71. An 18-year-old Pekin school record fell in this event. The old record was 1:28.78, set in 2000.
“These boys have been chasing the school record most of the season,” Dunn said. “I’m very glad they were able to accomplish that goal.”
Notre Dame won the 200 freestyle relay (1:26.33).
Pekin took second place Saturday in another relay, the 200 medley. Marlatt, Peterson, Kula and Cummins were clocked in 1:40.26. They missed the state cut (1:37.29). U. High won the race (1:33.95).
“That was a good start to the meet for us to finish second behind a fast U. High team,” Dunn said.
Marlatt dropped more than three seconds from his seed time in the 100 butterfly. He finished fifth (:53.61). His seed time was :57.04. The state cut was :52.33.
“Jack has had a quest to break the school record in the 100 butterfly, and he just missed it,” Dunn said.
The school record is :53.50, set in 1983.
Kula finished fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:50.73), dropping a few seconds from his best time. The state cut was 1:44.32.
Pekin sophomore diver Jayson Presley placed ninth (266.35 points).
“I’m very pleased to have a diver and that he’s doing well,” Dunn said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what Jayson develops into over the next couple years.”
Pekin finished sixth in the sectional team standings.
Normal Community (226), U. High (213), Peoria Richwoods (189), Peoria Notre Dame (182) and Normal West (169) were in front of the Dragons (125).
Metamora co-op (83) and Washington co-op (62) were seventh and 10th among 12 teams.
Peterson will make a return trip to the state met after competing in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke last year.
He swam :21.46 in the 50 freestyle and finished 20th of 46 swimmers in the prelims and went 1:00.20 in the 100 breaststroke, finishing 36th of 45 swimmers in the prelims.
Peterson said last year he was “thrilled” with how he did at the state meet.
“I couldn’t have asked for more. I did my best, and I dropped my time in the 50 freestyle,” he said.
It will be the first state meet appearance for Marlatt, Cummins and Kula. Cummins is a senior and Kula is a freshman.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.