Martinovic sets school mark
It was a packed house inside Parkland’s Natatorium for the District 11 Swimming and Diving Championships, and the Zephyrs arrived with high hopes as they looked to make it to the state tournament competing against the best swimmers in the state.
The Zephyrs were well represented in the two-day event. They had 19 competitors swimming a variety of events.
One of those competitors landed himself in the record books as senior Nikola Martinovic set the school record in the 100 backstroke, touching in 58.47. He broke Daniel Jablonski’s record (58.88) which was set against Parkland in 2018.
Swimming at the championships for the girls were Madelyn Kutney (100 backstroke, 200 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay), Lindsay Solderitch (100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay), Lexi Prentice (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), Rachel Dolan (200 Individual Medley, 100 butterfly, 200 IM relay), Lexi Bartosh (500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay), Neave Doyle (500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 200 Medley relay), Emily Thomas (200 freestyle), Ella Holmes (400 freestyle relay), Kayla Yandrasitz (200 Medley relay) and Emily Haggerty (200 Medley relay).
The boys competing at the meet were the aforementioned Martinovic, (50 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 Medley relay, 400 freestyle relay), Sabastian Solarte (100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 200 Medley relay, 400 freestyle relay), Connor Barnes (500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay) Justin Lesperance (50 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay), Ahmed Hamada (200 Medley relay, 200 freestyle relay) Brandon Deustch (200 Medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay), and Matthew Hilbert (200 freestyle relay).
The girls finished twelfth among the fifteen teams, while the boys placed fourteenth among the seventeen schools competing at the D-11 championships.
Kutney, who was swimming her last meet for Whitehall, finished 17th in the backstroke, touching the wall in 1:05.19. Heading into districts, Kutney said that the backstroke was her favored event, and the senior finished the race almost two seconds ahead of her seed time.
Solderitch had the best individual finish for the girls, nabbing 13th place in the breaststroke with a 1:12.81 mark. She shaved just under three seconds off her seed time of 1:15. 73 in that race.
The girls also had a strong showing in the 200 freestyle relay, finishing in 7th place with a 1:46.31 mark. They ended the meet fishing 8th in the 400 freestyle relay, combining for a 1:58.12 time.
Head coach Pete Rile said that eight of their 10 swimmers improved their seed marks at the championships. Moreover, seven of those girls set personal records in the process. They also improved their times in all of the relay races.
On the boys side, Martinovic has now entered his name in the record book. In the 100 backstroke, he finished 14th. It was the best individual finish among a strong group of Zephyrs. He later finished 15th in the 50 freestyle, giving him two top 15 finishes in the championships.
The boys also had a strong finish in the 400 freestyle relay, combining for a 3:35.36 mark that earned them 7th place.
Rile said that the boys had five swimmers improve their seed times during the championships. Five of those swimmers also established personal records at the district event. Rile said that they also improved their times in each of the relays.
Rile said that the Friday night was a little rocky, but they had a strong Saturday, with everyone at the top of their form to close out the year.
The team will graduate 10 seniors (six girls, four boys), and will now prepare for the upcoming season. Rile said they will have a strong returning base, but expects their schedule to be a bit tougher next season.