While New Trier raced away with last year’s state boys swimming title by 70 points, Hinsdale Central’s runner-up showing also deserved praise.
Hinsdale Central didn’t have any dominant individuals, piling up points behind successful relay combinations. The Devils’ 200-yard freestyle relay won a state title and juniors Brian Portland and Brian Powell are back from that unit. Powell is injured to begin this season and could return in January.
Portland is expected to be one of the area’s top swimmers. He is the top returnee for Hinsdale Central and projections are high after Portland placed 12th in the 100 butterfly (50.99 seconds) in last year’s state meet.
“I”m really looking forward to this season,” Portland said. “I’m obviously going to miss the strong group of seniors we had last year, but we have a bunch of guys that should definitely be able to fill in for what we’ve lost and even add more to our team. I’m excited to see what we can achieve this year.”
Portland competed with the Hornet Swim Club in the offseason and participated in the Junior Nationals in Irvine, Calif., over the summer. Portland battled an ear infection that affected his training.
He’s now completely healthy and earned four wins in the first meet of the season, a 96-90 loss Saturday at Naperville Central. Portland won the 50-yard freestyle (22.87) and 100 butterfly (54.26). He was part of two first-place relays: the 200 medley with Craig Smith, Franco Reyes and Aneil Srivastava; and the 400 free with Banistre Lienhart, Patrick Mis and Adam Pircon.
“Brian is a very talented individual who has two years to make his mark as a Red Devil,” Hinsdale Central coach Corky King said. “My expectations for him are simple — have fun and see what happens. We have no big goals like time or place at state.”
King will be stepping down after 15 years at Hinsdale Central. He coached previously at Peoria Richwoods for 21 years and would prefer to downplay his retirement as a physical education teacher.
“My decision to retire was based on 38 years of teaching and old age,” he said.
Before last year’s runner-up finish, the Devils claimed three consecutive third place trophies under King from 2002-04. Hinsdale Central’s last state title came under coach Tom Schweer in 1989.
The senior is the top returnee from last year’s 10th place team at state. Hallman was 20th in the 100 free and earned medals in the 200 medley relay (eighth) and 400 free relay (10th).
Hill is one-half of a good 1-2 combo for coach Luke McGuire. Hill, a junior, was 16th last year in the 50 free and swam on a pair of state final relays in the 200 free and 400 free.
The Devils’ next coach will have a good building block with this freshman. King has watched Reyes come up through the youth program and Reyes won the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley in his dual-meet varsity debut.
The senior placed 25th in the 100 freestyle and should make a good pairing with Hill in at least two of the Friars’ relays. Tieke and Hill return from Fenwick’s state runner-up 200 free relay.