Huskies swimmers register perfect 10th
2/22/13 Oak Park River Forest's Nikita Bondarenko qualified 4th in the 500 freestyle at the IHSA Boys Swimming Championships at New Trier H.S.| Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
At Class 4A Glenbard North Regional, 7:30 p.m.
At Schaumburg Sectional, 7:30 p.m.
At Lyons South, 4:30 p.m.
BOYS WATER POLO
Hosts Lyons, 6 p.m.
At Waubonsie Valley, 6 p.m.
GIRLS WATER POLO
Hosts Waubonsie Valley, 6 p.m.
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:54AM
WINNETKA — Last season at the Oak Park River Forest boys swimming banquet, retiring coach Peter Quinn dropped the gauntlet.
The long-time figurehead extended a challenge to the team and incoming head coach Clyde Lundgren. Basically, it was top-10 or bust.
Well, challenge accepted and met, as the Huskies finished 10th at the state finals at New Trier on Saturday.
“That became sort of the goal for us this season.” Lundgren said. “So it was interesting to see how someone’s words, you know just a goal that was put out there, became the mission for the whole season. We talked about it all year, about what we needed to do and what pieces we needed to put in place to achieve it.”
Rarely do things end so harmoniously with all the outside factors trying to cause chaos. But while Lundgren felt there was certainly stress in trying to manufacture the symmetry, he and swimmers just had fun with it.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t pressure trying to achieve that number,” Lundgren said. “But that’s what makes it fun, having that target to shoot for. The kids do the work; I just stayed faithful and tried to get them to do what they were capable of doing.”
The picture-perfect ending was spearheaded by the efforts of seniors Nikita Bondarenko and Kyle Patnode. Bondarenko finished sixth in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 free, while Patnode took ninth in the 100 butterfly and 100 back.
Bondarenko was particularly motivated this season, though his magic number was seven instead of 10.
“The projections came out about a week before the state meet and I was supposed to get seventh in both my events,” Bondarenko. “So I was extra motivated to prove people wrong. It’s pretty satisfying.
In the end, though, the personal achievements were secondary to the main team goal that was put forth almost exactly one year ago.
“When all the points were totaled and all the swimming was over, we were in 10th place,” Lundgren said. “It was pretty cool to have gone through the whole process and then fulfill what we set out to.”