North swimmers strive for state


Junior Ian Mallari competes as meets throughout the Plainfield boys swimming team season. Photo by Madi Boor

Sophia Woods, Sports Editor

With individual wins from North swimmers juniors Aidan Puk, Ian Mallari, and senior captain Jack Burke, the Plainfield boys’ swimming team defeated Riverside Brookfield on Jan. 11.

“Usually on weeknight dual meets we don’t compete in our main events that we do on invite days, so we all swam something different than usual,” Burke said.

Despite these changes, Burke took first place in the Men’s 200 Free with a 1:46.69 time with teammate Puk coming in behind him taking second at 1:51.24.

Burke also competed in the Men’s 400 Free relay with teammates Mallari, East junior Skylar Lomadilla and East senior Jeremy Suarez.

Puk swam a personal best in the Men’s 50 Fly with a 24.17 time improving 0.35 seconds and was able to assist his teammates Central junior Joe Broadway, Mallari and Suarez in winning the men’s 200 Medley Relay with a 1:42.48 time.

“I did pretty well overall, but I definitely have a lot of room for improvement in my events,” Puk said. “As a whole, we did great and took the win against one of the biggest teams that we have seen.”

Mallari was also to race his own individual events in addition to the relays he swam. 

Racing a 2:02.09 time in the Mens’ 200 IM, Mallari was able to take second place.

“The Riverside Brookfield meet was a great performance, and a lot of us were able to show off our skills in events that we don’t normally swim in,” Mallari said. “Overall, I swam pretty well, and as a team we were great competitors and displayed some great sportsmanship.”

Varsity coach Raghav Saini is hopeful for a state win due to the multiple first place wins at this meet and throughout the season.

“We did not have that meet last year, so many of our swimmers are really excited about it, and we hope to qualify all three relays and many individual spots as well,” Saini said.

The team has multiple swimmers looking forward to testing the waters again at state such as previous qualifiers Burke and Suarez. 

“Personally, as a top four swimmer in the 100-freestyle event this season, I’d like to finish top three at IHSA State Finals,” Burke said.

Saini credits the team’s workouts with successful swims at the meets. 

“We swim around 7000 yards every afternoon with specific sets geared towards sprint swimming and race pace,” Saini said. “The swim season is long [and] swimmers tend to be exhausted for the majority of winter break through February.”

Between the extensive practices and the long meet nights, the team spends a lot of time with each other. The camaraderie created inspires the team to perform better which they feel makes the long nights less stressful. 

“Swimming in general is an individual sport [but] during high school season, it takes everyone to win a meet,” Burke said. “The bonds we have as a result are just as strong as those on team sport.”