Boys’ swim & dive competes at the IHSA State Competition


Boys Swim Team

(From left to right) Conley, Gamilla, Willhite, Marchand qualify for state after sectionals

Namashritha Koganti, Sports Editor

On Feb. 24 and 25, the boys’ swim and dive team sent four of its athletes to compete in the IHSA State Final Meet. Swimmers Jaeddan Gamilla, Connor Conley, Henri Marchand and Michael Willhite traveled to the FMC Natatorium in Westmont, Illinois for this two-day competition.

Three of the four boys are seniors so this was their last time competing for Metea. This made this competition even more special for them compared to previous years.

“My favorite part was being able to compete for one last time with a couple of seniors that I have been training the past couple of years with. This year was my first time swimming at state,” senior Conner Conley said.

Senior Jaeddan Gamilla voices a similar opinion as he also will treasure the time he has spent in the Metea swimming program.

“It was surreal knowing that I was finished with high school swimming,” Gamilla said. “In my mind, I thought about all of my favorite memories from the past four years and realized it was all over.”

Gamilla truly shined at the meet. He placed in the top ten in two events. His time for a 200 individual medley was 1:49.92, which was his personal third fastest time, and he placed seventh compared to everyone else. He also swam the 100-meter breaststroke final, where his time was 0.55.13, for which he won the bronze medal. Gamilla had competed in the state competition last season also, where he placed third and fourth in his events. He will continue his swimming career at the University of Michigan starting in the fall.

“This year, I made sure to embrace every opportunity, moment, challenge and event that went on during the weekend,” Gamilla said. “I am glad to say that this state was more special in its own way since I grew to appreciate every little moment regardless of the results. I believe that I can carry a healthy mindset with me into my future swimming career.”

All four swimmers competed in the 200-meter medley relay together. Yet, they were not in the top 12 at prelims, so they did not get a chance to compete in the finals. Their time at sectionals was 1.36:55.

“[The medley] was definitely the most nervous I have ever felt for any race,” Conley said. “Afterward, it was a relief since we had swam around our best times.”

The results from this season’s state competition placed Metea Valley at twentieth for the state for boys’ swim & dive. While Gamilla, Conley and Marchand will graduate in the spring, Willhite will continue with the team in the following seasons.