Matt Salerno stands out for Metea Valley

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Behind the pool-record performance of Matt Salerno in the breaststroke, the Metea Valley boys swimming team placed second Friday at the Lincoln-Way North Invitational.

Salerno won the butterfly (52.69) and set a pool record in winning the breaststroke (57.87). Salerno was sixth in the state meet breaststroke last year.

Lucas Smiarowski didn’t mince words when he described how he swam.

“Shockingly well,’’ the Stagg freshman said. “I felt really sick this morning. I guess the weights are working. I never even lifted weights until this year.’’

Smiarowski may spend a lot more time in the weight room after he won the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.77), the 500 freestyle (4:49.94) and swam on the first-place 200 medley relay (1:40.33) to lead a group effort for meet champion Stagg.

The Chargers won the eight-team invitational with 270 points, ahead of runner-up Metea with 266. Andrew (236) was third, Sandburg (202) placed fourth and Lincoln-Way North (184) ended up fifth.

It’s the second meet title this season for Stagg, which won the Downers South Invitational.

“The guys are working their tails off,’’ Stagg coach Jason Carr said. “We’re going after that conference, sectional, state series this year. Between this meet and next week at Evanston, this is where the kids really do see where they’re at.’’

The high school competition is a first for age-group champion Smiarowski.

“It feels more meaningful, swimming for your own school,’’ he said. “Age group you don’t have anyone behind you.’’

Smiarowski had plenty of support at Friday’s meet. Evan Johnson won the 50 freestyle (22.55), took second in the 100 free and swam on the winning medley relay with seniors Harlan Long and Zack Amendola, all veterans of high school competition.

Amendola added second-place finishes in the 100 butterfly and backstroke and Long was second in the breaststroke.

“This means a lot. There were a lot of our rivals here,’’ Long said. “It’s fun to race all the others and compete well.’’

“This was an eye-opener,’’ Amendola said. “It’s a whole different year than last year. This opened up a lot of eyes and we have much more to go.’’

Andrew’s Zach Rentner won the 200 freestyle (1:46.52) and anchored the Thunderbolts’ first-place 400 relay (3:14.92) that included Kyle Fitzgerald, Michael Tamulonis and Dan Cavato to end the meet.

“We haven’t had a meet in a month, and I kind of just went out there and raced and didn’t worry about it too much,’’ Rentner said. “Surprisingly, got good times. We had a lot of drops all over the board.’’

Sandburg sophomore Kevin Stratton won the backstroke (55.16).

Teammates Dean Boures and Brett Reid were 1-2 in diving, 390.10 and 338.90.

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