EDWARDSVILLE - Senior Owen Gruben won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races, while freshman Cohen Osborn took the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly as Edwardsville won its second straight dual meet over O'Fallon 113-63 on Tuesday evening at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.
The Tigers won nine of the 12 events on the program, including all three relay races, in going on to their win, Edwardsville's depth played a big part in the meet as well.
"It was fun to kind of mix up our lineup from the last time," Edwardsville head coach Christian Rhoten said. "The first time we faced O'Fallon this year, we definitely tried to put out our best lineup that we could probably against them, and it was fun to be able to mix it up a little bit, have some guys in different events, and try out some new relays to see which combinations work best. It works for us pretty good."
Because of the shortened season due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Edwardsville only has three meets scheduled this year, including the two duals against the Panthers. It meant using a different approach to this meet.
"It's kind of like first meet, we just throw out what we think is our best lineup," Rhoten said. "Second meet, we go from there, and say 'OK, let's get you into your second best events' if we can, knowing what their strengths are. And then back on (March) 13th, we'll probably go back to our strongest lineup, because we'll have Chatham (Glenwood) coming down, and they're going to be really, really good. So we have to put out our best lineup against them. It gives them at least one shot to swim their off-events, if you will. Not really off, but second and third events that the wouldn't usually get to swim if we put our best lineup out every single time."
Osborn continues to impress in his freshman season, and it's a good sign for the Tigers.
"He's a really solid swimmer," Rhoten said. "He's a freshman, he's kind of raw, but long-term, we're definitely thinking some great things for him. He comes from a swimming family, and things like that. So, he's got a little sister and a little brother. so they're going to be around for awhile, which is awesome."
Gruben also had a great day with his two wins.
"Owen is just an all-around athlete," Rhoten said. "He runs cross country, he runs track. He's constantly moving and grooving; he's just really good at moving his body. Solid swimming, he came through on some sprint events that were kind of close. Kept him out of butterfly this time, which is kind of his forte. But we had him swimming some sprint freestyle, which is OK."
Gruben won both the sprint freestyle races, taking the 50-yard freestyle at 23.96 seconds, and the 100-yard freestyle at 53.90 seconds, while Osborn's wins were in the 100-yard butterfly, with a time of 54.60 seconds, and the 500-yard freestyle, with a time of 5:16.66. Evan Grinter won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.30 seconds for the only other Edwardsville individual winner on the day.
In the three relay races, the Tigers team of Osborn, Daniel Sanchez, Gruben and Grinter won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:47.60, while the 200-yard freestyle team of Gruben, Logan Oertle, Luke DeConcini and Grinter won with a time of 1:38.16, and the 400-yard freestyle team of Oertle, DeConcini, Osborn and Grinter took the race at 3:38.92.
Edwardsville will now be off until the season finale meet at home on March 13, an invitational event that will serve at their championship meet. Rhoten is looking forward to the competition ahead.
"We're treating it like our championship meet, with no sectionals or state this year," Rhoten saiid, "so it's like we're going to be suited up, and rested, and it's going to be their season-culminating meet. So we're expecting some fast times and to be competitive against a really solid Chatham and O'Fallon team."
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