Boys swim produces state qualifiers


Courtesy of Alec Danko

Senior Alec Danko surfaces to take a breath during the 100 yard breast stroke race.

Hannah Darbro, Fielder Friday Editor

Seniors Alec Danko and Ethan Fox qualified for the IHSA boys state swimming competition at New Trier High School on Feb 23. Danko raced in the 200 Free Relay while Fox competed in the 400 Free Relay. The team placed 16th overall.
In addition to Fox’s 11th place medal, the team also had medalists in three other events.
“There aren’t any shortcuts in swimming, you either do it or you don’t,” Fox said. “I really learned how to be a part of a team and complete something.”
Danko and Fox swim for the Thundercats, Plainfield’s co-op swimming team consisting of athletes from all four high schools. The Thundercats have won conference for three consecutive years and have sent qualifiers to state for the last seven years.
“Three years is the most years in a row that someone from our conference has won,” Danko said.
Coach George Sam believes that team depth and senior leadership contributed to the team’s development this year.
“I love teaching and watching the student athlete become a better all around person as well as an athlete,” Sam said.
The team is constantly working to set new goals, even when that means they must perform their best to win.
“I was on the 400 Free Relay, and we had to win that relay in order to win [our second conference]” Fox said.
Unlike most sports, the team has a long season- spanning from November to February.
The team practices and hosts home meets at the local YMCA.
“We don’t really have our own pool so we’re already at a disadvantage compared to the other teams,” Danko said.
Although the team had limited time to practice, they were still successful, ending the season with a 7-1 record in dual meets.
Many of the athletes condition on their own, rather than having dedicated time built into the practice schedule.
“Unfortunately, during that time, we only have time to swim, so we don’t get the chance to do dryland,” Danko said. “I had to workout after practice by myself”
The commitment and perseverance of the team has contributed to their achievements at conference and state this year. Although the season has concluded, the lessons learned throughout it are long lasting.
“Swimming has taught me hard work and to finish something all the way through. That’s the motto– You just have to keep going and finish it, ” Danko said.