MUNSTER | While Thursday's Munster Sectional preliminaries were nothing new to the returning swimmers, the meet gave several freshmen a chance to show everyone what they're made of.
Highland's Chris Dabrowski was a perfect example of that, qualifying for Saturday's finals in the first spot after swimming the 500-yard freestyle in 4:52.83.
"I was satisfied because I know what I did," he said. "I'm really just saving it up (for Saturday). (Finishing in) 4:44 would be nice, because that's the team record, and with (Munster's) Kyle (Ruckert) and me swimming against each other, I hope we can both do really well."
In total, Highland qualified first in four events, with Adam Johnston and Steve Castillo finishing 1-2 in the 50 free and 100 free. The Trojans also qualified first in the 200 free relay (1:27.44).
"We've got a lot more -- we just kind of came in tonight," Highland coach Ryan Harrington said. "It's nice to be in a situation where we're not struggling to make top eight. We know that our competition will be focused on Saturday, so it's going to be a fun day."
While not quite capable of the same dominant firepower as it had last season, Munster will still be in a good position to repeat as sectional champions.
The Seahorses qualified first in five events, including Eric Dobis' 53.47 finish in the 100 butterfly. Freshman James Beckman also qualified first in the 200 individual medley (1:58.69) and 100 back (53.06).
"I think a lot of our guys that moved up into the No. 1 seed proved that we still have the guys to keep the streak going, along with the midrange guys who are getting in sixth and seventh place," Dobis said.
Munster coach Matt Pavlovich was pleased with his team's performance in the meet, although every team normally holds back a bit in the prelims.
"It was a good start," he said. "We knew we had to swim well tonight with Lake Central, Highland and Crown Point there. We don't want to take any chances since all three teams have had a great season. We wanted to get as many guys in the top eight as we could."
Crown Point's 200 medley relay (Mike Kukurugya, Andrew Kvachkoff, Dan Kvachkoff, Johnny Lynk) qualified first in 1:38.89 while Lowell's Connor Wood won the breaststroke (59.75).