Home
About us
Lombard News
Villa Park News
Weather
Publisher's Desk
Opinion
Speak Out
Police Blotters
Coming Events
Out and About
On The Beat
Sports
Weddings
Births
Obituaries
Classifieds
StarLines
   
 


Lombard’s Nick Zito prepares to compete in the Olympic swimming trials

By Chris Fox Lombardian-Villa Park Review Staff Reporter 

Lombard resident Nick Zito will swim at the upcoming U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Zito, 21, earned berths to the trials earlier this year in two events—the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. The trials, which take place June 26–July 3, will determine the United States swimmers who will compete at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The swimming competition at the Olympics will begin on Aug. 6. Zito punched his ticket to the USA Olympic Trials in Omaha when he swam under the qualifying times in both breaststroke events at the Arena Pro Swim Series event held March 3-5 in Orlando, Florida. He completed the 100-meter breaststroke final in a 13th-place time of 1 minute, 3.28 seconds—meeting the USA Olympic Trials standard of 1:03.69. Zito finished the 200-meter breaststroke final in a 10th-place time of 2:16.13, which met the qualifying standard time to reach the trials—2:18.39. The top two finishers in each breaststroke event at the trials in Omaha will qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. “I kind of knew that I could go those times,” said Zito. “I’m very happy that I actually did them. I was just really excited to be able to go that fast.” Zito set personal-best times in each of the breaststroke events at the competition in Orlando. He dropped about 1.5 seconds off his best time in the 100-meter race and shaved a little more than two seconds off his best time in the 200-meter contest. Zito joined the Lombard Waves park district swim team when he was 5 years old. He spent his final season with the Waves in 2013, the same year he graduated from Willowbrook High School. During his senior season as a member of the Addison Trail/Willowbrook boys swimming team, Zito earned two top-five finishes at the 2013 IHSA state meet. He placed second in the 200-yard individual medley and claimed a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. After graduating from Willowbrook, Zito went to the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the Hawkeyes’ men’s swimming team. The rigorous academic and athletic schedule took a toll on Zito, who contracted mononucleosis during his freshman year and lost a significant amount of weight from his already tall and lean frame. The 6-foot, 9-inch Zito did not compete in any swim meets during his sophomore season. He returned home after his sophomore year at Iowa and decided to take a break from school and swimming. “I wanted to get away from swimming for awhile,” said Zito, who began swimming in competitive club meets when he was about 8 years old. “Most of my time for the past 12 years has been going to swim and work out. There were probably only two weeks per year that I wasn’t swimming. It’s been non-stop.” Zito took a seven-month break from swimming in 2015, staying out of the water from February to September. Jeannine Zito said her son wasn’t sure if he wanted to swim anymore. He eventually decided to return to swimming and began training with West Superior Training, formerly known as Westmont Swim Club. He soon began a whirlwind schedule of competing in Arena Pro Swim Series events around the country—Minnesota in November, Texas in January and the Florida competition in March, followed by events in Arizona in April, North Carolina in May and one in Indiana earlier this month. “The break helped a lot,” said Zito. “It pretty much made me mentally and physically able to go back in and work toward the trials.” “Everybody’s afraid to take time off,” said Jeannine Zito in referring to the grueling training schedules of elite swimmers. “Kids think they can’t have success if they take some time off. But Nick wasn’t training hard in 2015 until September. Sometimes the body and mind need a break. It’s OK to take a break and reset your goals.” Swimmers often “taper” for a major event by easing up on their training schedules in the preceding days and weeks to build up strength for an important race. Nick did not taper his races in Orlando. “He had energy,” said Jeannine, who added that her son also benefited from traveling to the meet with Hinsdale Central student Franco Reyes, a friend and fellow elite swimmer. “That was a distraction, which helps. When he’s relaxed, he swims faster.” Reyes, who also swims for West Swim Club, has represented Panama in international events. He may swim for Panama at the Olympics in Brazil. Zito’s chances of qualifying for the Olympics may be slim, but he does have a chance, and unlikely stories have played out before at the qualifying trials. There is an elite national meet in Minnesota shortly after the trials. Zito may or may not attend that competition. “Sometimes you’ve got to have your own downtime, and focus on something else,” Jeannine said. Zito has fond memories of his several seasons as a member of the Lombard Waves park district team. “It was a whole different experience from the club atmosphere,” he said of his summer seasons with the Waves. “It was much more fun and relaxed. It wasn’t all business all the time. You could go hang out with your friends and get away from all the competition. I really enjoyed it.”  


Waves pick up win at Addison before losing to Itasca
 
The Lombard Waves swim team earned its first win of the DuPage Swim and Dive Conference season when it defeated the Addison Frogs 369-275 in a June 15 meet at Addison. The victory evened Lombard’s record at 1-1. The Waves opened their season with a 319-316 loss at Carol Stream on June 11. Lombard swimmers who delivered multiple individual victories against Addison included a pair of 8-and-under swimmers. Zola Nowicki won three races (the 25-yard freestyle, the 50-yard freestyle and the 25-yard breaststroke) in the 8-and-under girls level. Michael Hoffmann was a three-time winner in the 8-and-under boys division. He claimed his victories in the 25-yard freestyle, the 25-yard backstroke and the 25-yard breaststroke. Libby Haxton provided the Waves with three wins in the 11-12 girls level. She turned in first-place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard individual medley and the 50-yard butterfly. Grace Schwieters of the 13-14 girls division also swam to three individual victories. She earned her wins in the 50-yard freestyle, the 50-yard backstroke and the 50-yard breaststroke. Lombard’s two-time individual champions in the meet at Addison included Katelyn Czarnowski (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard individual medley) and Ann Marie Czerwinski (100-yard freestyle and 50-yard butterfly) of the 9-10 girls division, as well as Lance Mueller (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle) and Nick Maiers (50-yard backstroke and 50-yard breaststroke) in the 9-10 boys level. Luke Schwieters won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races in the the 11-12 boys division. Mairead VanSanten was a two-time champion in the 13-14 girls level, claiming wins in the 100-yard individual medley and the 50-yard butterfly. Evan Kale of the 13-14 boys division provided victories in the 50-yard freestyle and the 50-yard butterfly. Daniel Bajda, another 13-14 boys swimmer, turned in victories in the 50-yard backstroke and 50-yard breaststroke. Anna Christiansen won a pair of races (the 100-yard freestyle and the 50-yard butterfly) in the 15-18 girls division. The Waves and Addison each won 10 relay events during the meet. Lombard earned two of its wins in the 9-10 girls level. Czarnowski, Czerwinski and Lillian Vish swam on both winning teams. Madelyn Nowak joined them on the 200-yard medley relay team, while Hannah Meyer teamed win them on the victorious 200-yard freestyle relay. Lombard also won two relay events in the 11-12 boys, 13-14 girls and 13-14 boys divisions. Luke Schwieters, Steve Flanagan and Thomas Florey swam on both of the Waves’ winning 11-12 boys teams. William Forsberg rounded out the winning 200-yard medley relay foursome, while Christopher Bajda contributed to the first-place effort in the 200-yard freestyle race. Grace Schwieters and VanSanten swam on both of the winning relay teams in the 13-14 girls level. Harrison Forsberg, Evan Kale and Matthew Bacon contributed to both relay victories in the 13-14 boys division. Lombard’s overall season record fell to 1-2 after Saturday’s 380-273 loss to Itasca at Paradise Bay Water Park. Lauren Manning of the 8-and-under girls level won three individual races (the 25-yard freestyle, the 50-yard freestyle and the 50-yard backstroke) for the Waves. Lombard’s Grace Dynako produced three individual championships in the 13-14 girls division by winning the 100-yard individual medley, the 50-yard butterfly and the 50-yard backstroke. Christopher Bajda swam to two victories in the 11-12 boys division, winning the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard individual medley. Daniel Bajda won the same two events in the 13-14 boys level. Evan Kale also picked up two victories in the 13-14 boys division. He earned his wins in the 50-yard butterfly and the 50-yard backstroke. The Waves’ season continues with this week’s meets against Roselle and Bloomingdale. 


Mariners drop meets against Butterfield and Carol Stream
 
The Villa Park Mariners faced the Butterfield Bullfrogs and the Carol Stream Dolphins in last week’s DuPage Swim and Dive Conference meets. The Bullfrogs outscored the Mariners 412-243 in a June 15 meet at the Butterfield Park District pool. Carol Stream edged Villa Park 328-304 in Saturday’s meet at Jefferson Pool. The Mariners’ two-time individual champions in the meet against Carol Stream included Olivia Bernardi, who won the 50-meter freestyle and 25-meter breaststroke races in the 8-and-under girls level. Jake Koterba earned a pair of victories in the 9-10 boys division by swimming to victories in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke events. Tommy Nettleton captured two titles in the 11-12 boys level with first-place efforts in the 100-meter individual medley and the 50-meter butterfly. Melissa Johnston (50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly) and Meghan Koterba (100-meter individual medley and 100-meter freestyle) won two events each in the 15-18 girls division. Ethan Wallace swam to two wins in the 15-18 boys level. He claimed his titles in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke events. Villa Park’s winning relay teams in Saturday’s meet included the 9-10 girls foursome of Audrey Morgan, Annabelle Thompson, Hailey Raffen and Nora McCormack, which won the 200-meter medley relay. McCormack, Raffen and Thompson teamed with Lily Cammarata to win the 200-meter freestyle relay. The Mariners also won two relay events in the 13-14 boys, 15-18 girls and 15-18 boys divisions. The quartet of Sean Pienkos, Jack Nettleton, Thomas Holmes and Raymond Brisbois teamed to win the 200-meter medley relay and the 200-meter freestyle relay. Johnston joined Meghan Koterba and Madeline Nettleton on both of the Mariners’ winning relay teams in the 15-18 girls level. The three girls teamed with Anne Jankowski to win the 200-meter medley relay. They joined Savannah Catalano during a first-place performance in the 200-meter freestyle relay. The 15-18 boys foursome of Jack Wentworth, Jacob Roucka, Jack Burns and Wallace won the 200-meter medley relay early in the meet. The same foursome delivered a victory in the meet’s final event—the 200-yard freestyle relay. Villa Park swimmers who won a pair of individual events during the meet at Butterfield included Filip Palutkiewicz (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle) and Kamil Kurpacha  (50-yard backstroke and 50-yard breaststroke), who both compete in the 9-10 boys division. Maggie Connelly won the 50-yard freestyle and the 50-yard butterfly in the 13-14 girls division, while Wallace swam to victories in the 50-yard backstroke and 50-yard breaststroke in the 15-18 boys division. The Mariners’ winning relay teams against Butterfield included the 9-10 boys foursome of Kurpacha, Palutkiewicz, James Burns and Jason Hasler, which produced victories in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle races. The Mariners opened their 2016 DuPage Swim and Dive Conference season with a 337-304 victory over the Addison Frogs at Jefferson Pool on June 8. Villa Park won 31 of the meet’s 58 individual events and claimed first-place finishes in 12 of 20 relay races. Palutkiewicz won three individual events in the 9-10 boys level, swimming to victories in the 100-meter individual medley, the 100-meter freestyle and the 50-meter backstroke. Wallace provided three more wins for the Mariners in the 15-18 boys division. He earned his victories in the 100-meter individual medley, the 50-meter backstroke and the 50-meter breaststroke. Villa Park’s two-time individual champions in the meet against Addison included Raffen, who won the 100-meter individual medley and the 50-meter butterfly in the 9-10 girls level, and Andrew Hasler, who delivered victories in the 50-meter butterfly and 50-meter breaststroke in the 11-12 boys division. Carmela Frontzak (100-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly) and Connelly (50-meter backstroke and 50-meter breaststroke) both won two races in the 13-14 girls level. Jack Nettleton of the 13-14 boys division earned wins in the 100-meter individual medley and the 50-meter butterfly, while Meghan Koterba won the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke races in the 15-18 girls level. The Mariners’ winning relay teams in the June 8 meet included the 11-12 boys foursome of Andrew Hasler, Cole McGinnis, Tommy Nettleton and Brandon Zamar. The same four boys teamed up to win the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay. Villa Park’s 13-14 girls foursome of Frontzak, Emily Gusel, Kelsey Fitzgerald and Cara Burns also swam to victory in the 200-meter medley and freestyle relays. The Mariners competed in their second meet of the season on June 11, when they traveled to Bartlett to face the Barracudas. Bartlett edged Villa Park 343-310 in the team results. Villa Park swimmers who won multiple individual races against Bartlett included Wallace, who won three more races in the 15-18 boys level, and Connelly, who contributed three first-place finishes in the 13-14 girls division. Bernardi and Maisie Thompson each won two races in the 8-and-under girls level. Palutkiewicz contributed two victories in the 9-10 boys division. Jack Nettleton (13-14 boys) and Johnston (15-18 girls) rounded out the Mariners’ list of two-time individual champions. The Mariners will continue their season with tonight’s home meet against Hanover Park. Villa Park has a bye on Saturday.          


 
   
Top