EDWARDSVILLE – The Edwardsville High boys swimming team had very good events across the board in winning the Southern Illinois Invitational meet Thursday evening at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center, scoring 309 points to win the meet. Granite City was second with 219, Belleville Althoff Catholic third with 68, Collinsville finished fourth with 62, and Triad was fifth with 19.

Porter LeVasseur and Trent Sholl each won two events on the evening, while Tiger relay teams swept each of the three races. The most important occurrence was that many of the swimmers performed very well.

“It was surprisingly good, really, across the board,” said Tigers coach Christian Rhoten. “We had a couple of guys who were rested for this meet, just to give them kind of a championship meet. They were the ones who are probably not going to be in the sectional lineup, but they did really, really well. And then, we had some guys who were not rested, and shouldn’t have done as well as they did, but they ended up having some really good swims.”

It was the Tigers’ final tuneup before hosting the IHSA sectional meet Feb. 16, and Edwardsville is all ready to go.

“We’re going to be posting our sectional lineup for the guys tomorrow,” Rhoten said, “and then it’ll be kind of set in stone, and we’re just going to start resting tomorrow into the sectional meet, and then, the goal is to qualify as many people as we can for state.”

Rhoten recognized some of his swimmers and his top diver, for great performances during the meet, mostly the younger swimmers who didn’t get much recognition.

“Our diver, Owen Kaufmann, has really come a long way,” Rhoten said. “He was a freshman last year, he went to sectional. Maybe every dive he does is a level up from where it was, difficulty-wise, so he had a really good performance tonight, and that should really bode well for him going into the sectional.

“As far as the other swimmers, Noah Range had a really good 100 (freestyle), 54.7; that was a lifetime best time,” Rhoten also said. “Trent Sholl was just a few seconds off in the 500 (freestyle) that was a lifetime best time, and then some of our other people like Max Brandmeyer; he’s a freshman, he went 1:04.39 in his 100 (backstroke), which is a two-second drop from what he’s been, Canon Adams went a 1:08.3, which is four seconds better than what he’s been. So we had some really impressive swims coming from people that weren’t always going to be our top-tier swimmers. But they’re moving their way up. They’re definitely going to be a presence moving forward.”

Sholl won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:08.88 and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:38.01, while Noah May won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:08.53. LeVasseur won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.83 seconds and the 100-yard backstroke in 54.25 seconds, Evan Grinter was another individual winner, taking the 100-yard freestyle in 54.52 seconds.

The Tigers won all three relay events, with the team of Logan Oertle, Adams, Brandmeyer and Jacob Grandone winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:17.61, the team of Logan Mills, Matthew Mendez, Oertle and LeVasseur taking the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:36.63, and the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:45.58.

The meet’s only other double winner was Granite City’s Noah Cain, who won the 100-yard butterfly in 58.16 seconds and the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:02.05.

The Tigers now point to the sectional on next Saturday, and the team’s goal, as always, is to both win the meet and qualify as many swimmers as possible for the state meet, which will take place Feb. 22-23 at New Trier High School in Winnetka, in suburban Chicagoland.

“Well, our goal, as always, is to win the sectional,” Rhoten said. “But this year, right away after that goal is to qualify as many individuals and relay races as we can for state. So really, our best outcome is qualifying all three relays for the state meet, and also, we’re probably looking to qualify between five and six individual swims that I think have a pretty good shot at qualifying.”

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story

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