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Knight Alef among best in backstroke

in Swimming by

WINNETKA, Ill.—Kaneland senior Grant Alef went into the the IHSA State swimming and diving meet on Friday at New Trier High School, and emerged as one of the elite on Saturday.

On Friday, the University of Minnesota-bound Alef swam sixth in the 100-yard backstroke at 51.42 seconds, qualifiying him for Saturday’s final.

Friday also saw Alef finish just 1.13 seconds off of a chance for the consolation final in the 500-yard freestyle event (4:40.29).

On Saturday, Alef excelled enough for a fifth-place finish in the state with a time of 51.18 in the backstroke. Naperville Central’s Sean Lehane took the event crown at 50.28.

Alef had previously qualified for two events at the St. Charles North Sectional, in the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. He swam a solid four minutes, 37.69 seconds in the freestyle, Alef also swam the 100-yard event in 51.37 seconds, taking the sectional title and producing the second-best time in the state.

Kaneland’s Alef heads to State pool once again

in Swimming by

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—This is becoming a regular February stop for Kaneland senior Grant Alef, the lone swimmer representing the School District.

But leading up to this weekend’s IHSA State swim meet, it’s been anything but regular.

Alef qualified for two events at the St. Charles North Sectional on Saturday, and will head to Evanston, Ill., in the 500 yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. While swimming a solid four minutes, 37.69 seconds in the freestyle, Alef astounded by swimming the 100 yard event in 51.37 seconds, taking the sectional title and producing the second-best time in the state.

“It was a special race,” Alef said, while at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA in DeKalb on Tuesday. “I’ve never won a sectional title before, that would be my first. Taking the pool record down with me was a good one, too. I didn’t know until I got home that it was good for second best in the state.”

With qualifying for the fourth straight year, Alef believes the 2010-11 State gathering holds special significance, it being the final go-around in a high school pool.

“It is my last State meet, and I want to go out with a bang. I want to take all the experience of the last three State meets that I’ve done. I think I’m well prepared for it,” Alef said.

Alef also hopes to take a productive State meet into his university athletics career, having signed a national letter of intent for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers program in December.

“I’m looking at making this my best one yet.”

Justin’s just Grand

in Featured/Swimming by

2007 Kaneland High School graduate Justin Patterman is making a name for himself in swimming circles. A student at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, Patterman earned six All-American honors at the 2010 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in Canton, Ohio. in March thanks to top-8 finishes in the 200 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Fly and 200 Medley Relay. Courtesy Photo

Kaneland swimmer Alef makes great showing at State

in Featured/Swimming by

Last week, Kaneland High School junior Grant Alef mentioned he hoped to see his name and picture adorn the school’s wall of State finalists.

This past weekend at Evanston High School, the lone representative of Kaneland put his hope into action.

Becoming the first KHS swimmer to ever medal in swimming events, Alef made it to the consolation final in both the 500-yard freestyle event in which he finished ninth overall and the 100-yard backstroke consolation final and finished eighth.

Alef finished at 4 minutes, 40.78 seconds in the freestyle after swimming 4:39.81 on Friday. He put in a Saturday effort of :52.73 in the backstroke after swimming :52.65 on Friday.

In 1980, Kaneland’s Jim Watson won the State Diving title.

Photo: Maple Park’s own Grant Alef shows off the hardware from this weekend’s IHSA State swimming and diving meet at Evanston High School. Courtesy photo

Alef headed to State swim meet

in Swimming by

Kaneland High School junior Grant Alef, as an individual swimmer, has one destination during the winter.

For the third season in a row, he’s making good once again.

Alef, of Maple Park, finished second in the 500 yard freestyle event with a time of 4 minutes, 43.68 seconds, and third in the 100 yard backstroke at 52.97 at the St. Charles East Sectional.

“I want to get into finals,” Alef said on Tuesday. “I came so close last year, and it could come down to a slip here or a flipturn there. I want to get good times.”

Alef hopes to make it out of the meet in Evanston this weekend with a goal.

“I want to have my name on the group of State qualifiers for Kaneland and be the first swimmer,” Alef said.

IHSA Newsbites: Softball distance moved, swimsuit banned

in Swimming by

Softball pitching distance changed
The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors approved a recommendation to move the pitching distance in the sport of softball to 43 feet effective with the upcoming 2009-10 softball season at their regularly schedule meeting on Aug. 10. The pitching distance was 40 feet in 2008-09.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), whose rules the IHSA follows for all sports including softball, voted to increase the pitching distance effective with the 2010-11 season. Each state was given the option to move its pitching distance to 43 feet for the upcoming 2009-10 season or wait until it became mandatory in 2010-11. The rule revision was made by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at its annual meeting in Indianapolis on June 8-10.

“I believe this is the best move for the student-athletes and high school softball in Illinois,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “This change came as no surprise, as the NFHS has talked about it for nearly a decade, and we knew it was only a matter of time.”

Swimsuits banned

High-tech swimsuits that have been linked to record performances at all levels of competition the past couple of years have been banned for high school competition, effective immediately.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee approved changes to Rule 3-2-2 that will make the high-tech swimsuit no longer a legal suit for swimmers at the high school level. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Effective immediately, swimmers shall be limited to one swimsuit, which shall be constructed of a woven/knit textile material, permeable to water and air, constructed so as not to aid in buoyancy, and shall not contain zippers or other fastening systems. In addition, the suit shall be constructed so that the style/shape for males shall not extend above the waist or below the top of the kneecap and for females shall not extend beyond the shoulders or below the top of the kneecap, and it shall not cover the neck.

The committee discussed the high-tech swimsuit issue at its meeting in March, but did not have enough factual information to take action at that time.

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