The future is bright for boys swim

New Trier Boys Swim and Dive celebrates 2nd place finish on Feb. 25



New Trier Boys Swim and Dive takes picture with and celebrates hard-earned 2nd place trophy at the IHSA state competition on Feb. 25

For New Trier Boys Swimming & Diving team, the road to their runner-up finish was not always so bright. For a new, young group of swimmers, Coach Josh Runkle was unsure how this season would pan out. 

“Out of 24 swimmers, we only had five seniors. We were young, inexperienced, and a little naive,” said Runkle. “For us to get second was a little surprising. They exceeded my expectations with some of the things we were able to do, for sure.”

New Trier came into the state meet in the running for third place, as it was clear Hinsdale Central— the heavy favorite— and Stevenson—defending state champions— were vying for the top two spots. But due to illness for several Stevenson swimmers, the Trevians were able to slide into the runner-up spot with a score of 134, led by Aidan Musick’s first place finish in the 100 butterfly. Hinsdale Central Finished with a score of 253, the second most points earned by a team in the state finals since 1975, when Hinsdale Central scored 307 points.. 

This group we had this year was able to have a bit more fun, which I think we’d been missing for the past couple of years. Finding the balance is what’s key

— Josh Runkle

The second place finish for New Trier was the highest by the school since capturing the state championship in 2018. Since 2004, New Trier has dominated high school swimming with eight boys state titles during this same time period; for comparison,  no other school has more than two. 

Coach Runkle knows how historic New Trier Swimming and Diving is. 

“At times it can get overwhelming, with all the records and more state titles than any other school.” said Runkle, “It’s flattering, but it’s also very humbling, when you think about all the athletes and the coaches, the coaches are all hall of famers. It’s been great, and very exciting.”

With the continued success, Runkle and company also know the importance  of staying loose within the season.

“This group we had this year was able to have a bit more fun, which I think we’d been missing for the past couple of years. Finding the balance is what’s key.”

As senior Graham Wilson points out, the bonds created between teammates is very important to the success in the water, something that Wilson believes the team was lacking last year. 

“The fact that we were all very close this year and pushing each other really helped, and we all got faster throughout the year”, said Wilson. “Even on our off days, we’d go swim somewhere together or go to lunch, we were all close knit so it was a fun time.”

Wilson also appreciated the give-and-take approach from all three varsity swim coaches that helped to maximize the team’s performance throughout the year. 

“Runkle is really funny, he directs everything and makes all the sets, he can be hard at times but that’s his job. [Mike] Leissner is more of the technical guy, he’ll tell you if you’re not doing well. Rob [Miner] is more of the strength guy and he’s the sprint coach, he’s very encouraging and always trying to lift up the swimmers. It’s a mix of everything, which definitely helps.” said Wilson.

Wilson was skeptical of returning to swim for his senior season, but said he made the right decision.

“New Trier Swimming means a lot to me, I didn’t really know whether I was coming back and swimming this year, but I’m very glad I did. My coaches are awesome.”