The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 2, 2014

Danville senior swimmers claim home finale

Shannon sets a personal best in the 500-yard freestyle event

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Weather woes have taken their toll on all sports this winter.

On Saturday afternoon, the Danville boys swim team made the most of its opportunity to host a meet with Charleston, Rantoul and St. Thomas More.

The Vikings won nine of 12 events en route to winning the four-team meet by 26 points (163-137) over the Charleston Trojans, while Sabers of St. Thomas More was third (128) and the Rantoul Eagles (47) were fourth.

"I'm really happy about today,'' Danville coach Carl Long said. "We've missed a few meets recently because of the weather, so we haven't been really meet tested. We needed a meet and this turned into a good day for us. We had a lot of good times from everyone.

"It's coming down to the end of the season, so we have to do a lot more work before we get to the conference and sectional meets.''

One of the Danville swimmers that had a really good day on Saturday was senior Max Shannon, who was on the winning 200-yard medley and 200 freestyle relay teams and he also won the 500 in a personal best time of 5 minutes, 33.44 seconds — nearly 15 seconds faster than his previous best. Shannon sprinted past St. Thomas More's Nick Hess in the final 25 yards to earn the victory by 56-hundredths of a second.

"It has been pretty tough missing meets this year, so we've had some extra practices instead,'' Shannon said. "We really worked hard as a team for this meet, being our final home meet of the season.''

Not only has the Vikings missed some meets, they also missed some practice time.

"We've had to work really hard recently because we also had our pool heater go out during the season,'' Shannon said. "But, considering that nearly everyone on the team had their best times today, it shows that all of our hard work is paying off.''

Long said he had at least four other swimmers post their all-time bests on Saturday. Josh King and Logan McBee were two of the others as they both set a personal record in the 200 individual medley. McBee, who won the event, had a time of 2:19.52; while King, who was fourth, finished in a time of 2:44.00.

"We had a lot of guys swim really well, but I think there is still room for them to move down even further,'' Long said. "Josh Kind had a good day and Lucas Miller, even though he had a lot of goggle problems, had some really good times.''

Miller, who was also a part of the Vikings two relay victories, also won the 100 butterfly and 100 breast stroke events. Tristian Wolfe was another Danville swimmer to finish the day with four victories as he was on the two winning relay teams and he also won the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle events.

In addition to the being the home finale for Danville, it was also senior day for three Vikings swimmers — Jordan Ledesma, Shannon and Ali Shilo.

"This group of seniors have been fun,'' Long said. "Max will swim whatever I want, he is just a fun, good-nature kid. Jordan has been a diver for three years and he is always willing to learn. And for Ali, swimming has done a lot of him. He has really improved dramatically over the years.''

Shannon admits that Saturday was a special day for him and the other seniors and it had the right ending.

"You always want to win that final meet at home,'' he said. "It was pretty important for us.''

The next scheduled meet for Danville is next Saturday at the Big 12 Conference Championship.