Newcomer Lake Park made a big splash in its first DuPage Valley Conference boys swimming meet Saturday, but it wasn't quite enough to top Naperville Central.
The Lancers, led by freestyle star Sean Gregor, scored 273 points to finish second only to the Redhawks, who tallied 296 points.
Gregor won the 100 and 200 freestyle races and helped the Lancers top the conference in the both the 200 and 400 free relay races.
"It went better than we expected, that's for sure," said Gregor, who clocked a 1:45.54 to hold off Wheaton co-op's Matt Rogers in the 200 free. "We pulled together as a team and everybody had good swims."
The former Upstate Eight Conference team fit in quite well at Saturday's meet, which was hosted by West Aurora but held at the Naperville North pool. Lake Park went 1-2 in the 50 free -- which Kevin Siciak won in 21.98 -- and also went 1-2 in the 100 free where Mitchell Carzoli was second to Gregor.
"It was a very fun meet," Lancers coach Dan Witteveen said "This is the first time we came to the DVC meet and the boys wanted to make an impression and they did. It's going to set us up nice for the sectional meet (at Downers Grove North)."
Lake Park capped off its solid meet when Siciak, Carzoli, Gregor and freshman Eric Sgarbossa combined to swim a 3:16.43 in the 400 free and hold off runner-up Naperville Central.
"That's what's nice about coming into the new conference. We knew our position in the Upstate Eight, now coming into the DVC, I don't know if this is what we'll place every year, but it was an exciting, brand-new meet for us," Witteveen said. "And that's what we preached during the year. Hey, this is a new meet for us, let's go out and have some fun."
The Redhawks, meanwhile, ended Naperville North's two-year run atop the DVC with their first league title since 2011. With divers Peter Rusenas and Joe Gucwa placing first and third, respectively, on Friday night, Naperville Central got off to a quick start in the conference meet and stayed strong in Saturday's races.
The Redhawks' quartet of Scott Piper, Phillip Sajaev, Connor Lamb and Eric Gerlach won the 200 medley relay in 1:39.85 to hold off Wheaton, and it was just the first of Lamb's three firsts on the day. The Naperville Central senior also won the 200 IM and the 500 free, and now is setting his sights on bettering his seventh-place finish in the 200 IM at last year's state finals.
Lamb said seeing a lot of younger Redhawks swim so well helps fire up the varsity members.
"Our varsity had some good swims, but whenever we see the JV team swim as well as they did it gets us excited to swim faster in a couple weeks," said Lamb, whose Redhawks will compete at the Metea Valley sectional along with Naperville North. "A lot of people on the team had pretty good times, so it sets us up right where we want to be to get our state times at sectional so we should be good."
For the Huskies, who placed third with 231 points, Albert Yao took first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.45 and teammate Will Lapsey was fourth.
Wheaton co-op claimed top honors when Max St. George won the 100 backstroke and in the 100 fly when Tommy Reminger swam a 53.87. Reminger later took second to Lamb in the 500 free.
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