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Karol Mlynarski said he wasn't at his best during warmups before Saturday's sectional swim meet at Glenbrook South.
That's why the Niles North senior was so surprised with how he swam hours later.
At one of the most competitive sectionals in Illinois, the Cornell-bound Mlynarski finished first in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle to advance to next weekend's state meet at New Trier. The first two in each event automatically qualify as do those who achieve the state-qualifying time.
"I felt OK, but I didn't have the power I usually have," said Mlynarski, who couldn't fully explain his pre-race sluggishness. "But this is a huge confidence-booster for when I am shaved, fully rested and in my fast (suit).
"My goal was to get close to my best times, and I did that."
In fact, Mlynarski's 20.92 seconds in the 50 free and his 45.93 seconds in the 100 free both were top times for this season. Mlynarski, one of four individuals who won two races at Glenbrook South, also helped the 200 medley relay (1:36.17) and the 200 free relay (1:26.58) qualify for the state meet.
"I am getting to the end of my taper, so it's going to be really exciting next week," said Mlynarski, whose best-ever finish at the state meet was his eighth in the 100 free as a junior.
As expected, two-time defending state champion New Trier dominated the day, taking the team title with 372 points. The Trevians won six events and qualified all three relays and 15 of the 16 available spots in individual events.
Senior Reed Malone and junior Jae Park each won two individual events. Malone, a former state champion and USC recruit, won both the 200 free (pool-record 1:41.17) and the 500 free (4:39.ep22). Park finished first in each of the 200 individual medley (1:53.20) and 100 breaststroke (57.39). His times were two of the eight pool records established Saturday.
Loyola senior Andrew Jovanovic also won two events, breaking two pool records in the process. The three-time state champion won both the 100 butterfly (49.91) and the 100 backstroke (50.33).
"For me, it was OK," said Jovanovic, who will swim at Northwestern in college. "It's just a lot of technical stuff to work on. I'm a constant thinker. Perfect is impossible, especially in this sport, but I'm always striving for it."