Jae Park paces New Trier in record-setting day at Trevian Relays

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Jae Park, Alex Snarski and Franco Reyes hail from different schools and have different specialties, but they all had one thing in common Saturday – each established a new record at the 59th annual Trevian Relays in Winnetka.

Park led host New Trier to the team championship by winning the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. That was expected since he is the reigning state champion in each. Park’s record time of 1:52.35 in the IM, which broke the mark of 1:52.98 he set last year, also wasn’t a surprise.

“Compared to last year, all my times are faster and so at least I know I’m improving,” Park said. “There’s a couple of changes that I want to do. Like I’ve got to work on my turns a little bit better and breaststroke I was gliding a little bit more. But I’m happy with everyone’s time.”

Park was even more impressed with what Reyes, a Hinsdale Central freshman, accomplished. Reyes won the 100 butterfly in 50.67, the fastest time in the state this year and .64 faster than the meet record set by 2013 state champion Andrew Jovanovic of Loyola.

“I didn’t expect to do it,” Reyes said. “I was just really happy that I did do it, though.”

Based on seed time, Reyes knew he had a chance to break the fly record, but doing so against state-level competition at the regular season’s oldest and most prestigious meet wasn’t a sure thing.

“At first I was pretty nervous,” Reyes said. “I just don’t think about anything through the whole race and I finished strong at the end because I really wanted to break it and beat the other kids. When I saw that I had beaten the record I was really happy because I’m just a freshman.”

Fans got a special treat in watching Park and Reyes go head-to-head in adjacent lanes in the breaststroke. Reyes put up a strong fight and finished second in 1:01.32.

“It was a really nice experience to swim against him because he’s such a good breaststroker,” Reyes said. “I didn’t beat him but I was happy with what I swam.”

“I guess guys are getting faster,” Park said. “That freshman guy from Hinsdale, geez, he went 1:01. His butterfly was 50-point, that’s kind of crazy.”

Snarski, a Northwestern-bound senior who is hoping to lead Libertyville to its first state title next month, captured the 100 backstroke in 50.71 to take down the meet record of 51.07 set by New Trier’s Jack Mangan in 2012.

“Going into that I already had the fastest time (50.19) so I was just looking for something good,” Snarski said. “So I’m pretty happy.”

New Trier won the team title with 165 points, while Hinsdale Central was second with 120 and Libertyville third at 106. But the meet format isn’t the same as the state meet, where most people pick Libertyville as a slight favorite.

That’s why the thrilling finish of the 400 freestyle relay, in which Park and Snarski went all-out against each other on the anchor leg, could be a preview of the state finals. New Trier timed 3:12.27 to edge Libertyville by .20.

“That event is an event we want to win because it’s at the end of the meet,” Park said. “Our motto is “leave everything in the pool.’ We went for it and it was the best time of the season for our guys.”

Libertyville won the 200 medley relay in 1:36.57 and got a win in the 200 free from Matt Harrington, who edged New Trier’s Murphy McQuet by .01 to win the 200 free in 1:43.51.

Loyola took the 200 free relay in 1:29.39, while the other winners were Lake Forest’s Symen Ooms in the 50 free (21.99) and Stevenson’s Nicholas Koto in the 500 free (4:47.62).

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