Boys swimming & diving earns 10th place at state meet


New Trier Athletics Twitter

The Evanston pool stands ready for the 2020 Boys Swimming & Diving State Championship

Despite team-wide struggles with illness, boys swimming & diving placed 10th at the state meet held on Feb. 28-29 at ETHS’ William Dobson Burton Aquatic Center.

Going into the 2019-2020 season, the Trevians had hoped to finish much higher than 10th at state. With more than half the team missing time due to illness over the course of the season, though, it soon became clear that they would have to dampen their expectations.

“Out of thirty-two guys, we had twenty-one of them out at some point,” said head coach Joshua Runkle. “We would obviously always like to finish higher, but, [given] where we were at the time, [10th] was about where we thought we would end up.”

Still, while the state meet did not go as the Trevians originally hoped at the start of the season, they still found a number of positives in their performance.

For one thing, considering that last year’s team placed 18th at state, this year’s top ten finish represented a significant improvement.

“We had expectations for state that we didn’t quite reach, but in the end, we all put in the best effort that we could and ended up doing significantly better than last year,” said senior Rishi Nair, a member of the 200 yard freestyle team which placed sixth at state.

Senior Pearce Bailey’s performance at state was another highlight for the Trevians. Bailey placed fifth in the 100 free and tenth in the 50 free, scoring 13 of the Trevians’ 39 total points.

Characteristic of a top athlete, though, Bailey expressed some disappointment when asked about how he swam at state.

“I was not completely satisfied with my performance,” said Bailey. “I did well at state but I didn’t quite reach the goals I had made.”

Despite his moderate dissatisfaction, Bailey’s 13 points at state were essential to the Trevians’ ultimate top ten finish. He was the engine behind their performance at state.

The Trevians’ other 26 points came from a sixth place finish in the 200 free relay and a ninth place finish in the 400 free relay. Both relay teams were composed entirely of the same four seniors: Bailey, Nair, Marc Hagist, and Sam Dienstag.

The strength of the Trevians’ senior class was the key to the Trevians 10th place finish. According to Runkle, these seniors had a unique New Trier swimming career arc.

“This was a group that none of them swam varsity as a freshman, which is kind of rare around here (we usually have one or two), and they have really progressed since then,” he said.

The team’s struggles with illness hit the senior class hard—they could have performed even better at state if not for this issue.

“Unfortunately, a few of them [seniors] weren’t in the state meet—their season got really hit hard by being sick at conference—so that’s when their season ended,” added Runkle.

According to Nair, leaving is bittersweet. Over the past four years, swimming has played a special role in his life and has helped him to develop as both a person and as a swimmer.

“Being a member of the New Trier Swimming and Diving Team has meant so much to me,” said Nair.

“I believe that being part of the team really means being part of something bigger than yourself and learning to step up when your team needs you.”

In the end, though, the seniors can be proud of the positive impact they had on Trevian aquatics. Through this year’s 10th place finish at state, they laid the foundation for future success.

“I think our Seniors did a really nice job of getting us back on that track,” said Runkle. “They’ve left a really nice legacy for the kids to work towards.”

Moving forward, if the underclassmen step up and put in hard work, the boys swimming & diving will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

“We lose a lot of seniors this year, but we have a lot of young talent that I believe is willing to fill in for the lost spots,” said Nair. “New Trier is going to be dangerous these next few years and I wish everyone on the team good luck.”