Niles North nabs CSL North three-peat

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Niles North seniors Ian Crane and Javed Avdic felt like they had something to prove entering Saturday’s Central Suburban League North meet.

Crane walked away disappointed with his swims in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle after last year’s conference meet, but made up for that by edging Glenbrook North senior Stefan Johnson by .21 seconds to win the 500-yard freestyle (4:53.84).

“My 200 free and my 500 free, I didn’t really perform the way I wanted to (last year),” Crane said. “So this week, I was telling coach and telling myself, ‘Show them what you’re made of. You’ve been working hard, you’ve been traveling everywhere. This is where (the hard work) is going to show.’ And I basically had the meet of my life.”

Crane’s triumph in the 500-yard freestyle was the fourth of five-straight races won by the Vikings, who easily won their third-consecutive CSL North title.

Niles North finished with 355 points and Deerfield was second with 249 points. Glenbrook North (202 points), Highland Park (169), Maine West (163) and Maine East (119) rounded out the top-six.

The Vikings’ stretch of five-consecutive victories began with back-to-back victories by Avdic in the 50-yard freestyle (22.11) and 100-yard butterfly (52.88).

The senior made winning the CSL North’s 50-yard freestyle title a primary goal entering Saturday’s meet after coming up just short as a sophomore and junior. Avdic exploded off the starting blocks in this year’s 50-yard freestyle and beat Niles North senior Earl Kim, who finished in second place, by .4 seconds.

“Every year I’ve been out touched by less than a half-second,” Avdic said. “This kind of meet, (it helps) to really set your mind to something before the race. It motivates you.”

Niles North senior Karol Mlynarski followed Avdic’s victories with a first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle (46.99), which was his second individual title of the meet. Mlynarski won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:44.23, and also swam on the Vikings’ victorious 200-yard freestyle relay (1:27.46) and 400-yard freestyle relay (3:16.77).

Highland Park’s 200-yard medley relay (1:42.65) began the CSL North meet with a .03 second victory over Niles North. The Giants’ Ben Laedlein, a junior, won the 100-yard backstroke (54.96).

Maine West senior Brian Wasicak also won two conference titles. He won the 200-yard IM (1:58.34) and the 100-yard breaststroke (59.76).

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