Niles West Boys’ Swim Team Takes Third at Annual Early-Bird Invite

By Rebecca Yun

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The Niles West Boys’ swim team placed third at the Niles West Invite on Saturday, Dec. 3. Among the teams competing were the Buffalo Grove Bison, Mundelein Mustangs, Schaumburg Saxons, Brother Rice Crusaders, and Latin Romans.

Although they hit a few rough patches with turns off the walls and starts off the blocks, the Wolves stayed strong throughout the meet. Freshman and newcomer Miguel Paloma placed first in his heat of the 500 freestyle, getting a 5:45.14 and shaving 0.42 seconds off his seed time. Seniors Stephen Giddens and Matt Cossio placed second and third respectively in their heat of the 500 freestyle.

Head coach Dan VanderJeugdt said, “Well that was a good event for us,” shortly after the last heat of the 500.

Another swimmer who had a first-place finish in his heat was junior Eric Himmler, who finished with a 1:06.42 in the 100 backstroke, putting him at 8th-place overall.

Ian Rodriguez of Buffalo Grove broke the pool record for the 100 backstroke, getting a 52.83. Additionally, Connor Black of Mundelein broke the pool record for the 100 freestyle, finishing at 51.11 seconds.

“The boys swam well,” VanderJeugdt said. “The two biggest things they need to work on right now are their walls and breathing. On Friday, it’s definitely going to be competitive. North is good. I honestly can’t say how close the meet will be, though.”