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EDWARDSVILLE – The Edwardsville High School boys swimming team won over both Chatham Glenwood and O’Fallon in a triangular meet at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center Thursday evening in what could be a preview of the upcoming IHSA sectional meet in February.

Edwardsville finished first with 137 points, with the Titans close behind at 124, and the Panthers third with 63 points.

The Tigers had many of their swimmers do well in the meet against a pair of good teams, and it bodes well for the rest of the season.

“They’re definitely a good team,” said Edwardsville head coach Christian Rhoten of Glenwood, “and they have a lot of returners, actually, from last year, and so are we. We knew it was going to be a tough meet, and kind of had to game it a little bit as far as what events would be strong events for us, and what events we could probably go a little bit easier on, so we could have momentum when we needed it. But it was a fun meet.”

Rhoten cited seniors Noah May and Porter LeVasseur as two of his outstanding swimmers on the night.

“Noah May had a really exceptional night,” Rhoten said. “He had in-season best times on both of his individuals, which is good on a Thursday night, especially with how tired they should be. Other than that, Porter LeVasseur had a pretty good night. Those aren’t absolute best times from in-season, but it’s right where he should be, definitely with how tired he probably is right now.”

May won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.57 seconds and finished second in the 200-yard individual medley, coming in 2:05.86. Meanwhile, LeVasseur won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.91 seconds and the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 48.78 seconds.

The meet also allowed the Tigers to use their depth to score points when they needed them.

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“Yes, it’s two per team that can score,” Rhoten said. “If you don’t have two in an event, it would definitely be detrimental to your score. So being able to put two up, and have them get into the top couple, top three or four, that’s definitely why we came out ahead against Chatham. And then, relay performances were strong; our medley relay was pretty good, two and three relay was good, Chatham stacked the 400 free relay, we just couldn’t hold on. They were really fast, so still came out with the win.”

The 200-yard medley relay team of Mathiew Doyle, McLane Oertle, May and Evan Grinter got the win with a time of 1:45.02, while the 200-yard freestyle team of Logan Mills, May, Grinter and LeVasseur won with a time of 1:36.63. The 400-yard freestyle team of Mills, Oertle, Doyle and LeVasseur ended up second with a time of 3:32.68.

This year’s team is probably the strongest boys’ team for the Tigers in quite some time, with a good mix of talent, youth and hard work.

“There’s definite talent in the upperclassmen,” Rhoten said. “They all kind of fall in their own events, which is really nice as a coach to have butterflyers and breaststrokers and backstrokers. But then, really, what I’m excited about is some of our younger guys who are really just getting pulled along with the upperclassmen, because it’s really easy as a freshman to be kind of like timid and kind of lost in all of this stuff. But our guys make it a point to say ‘it doesn’t matter how old you are, we’re expecting you to train and perform like us.’ So, we’re seeing a lot of great things come out of the freshman class and sophomore class, so we should be good on the boys’ side. It’s looking pretty good for a while, now.”

Rhoten mentioned Grinter as one of his standout underclassmen, but there are others who are starting to come into their own.

“Logan Oertle is McLane Oertle’s little brother; he’s a freshman,” Rhoten said. “Maxwell Brandmeyer is a freshman, Noah Range’s sprinting is coming around, he’s a freshman. So, they’re starting to creep up on the times that are going to be competitive with the upperclassmen, which is good. That’s where we need it to be, especially coming into the next year.”

Edwardsville host the Swim for Hope meet for charity on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which will also be a college-style events Invitational, where events that are normally swum during college meets and during the summer club season will be part of the program.

The Tigers will also host their Senior Night meet on Jan. 26 against Springfield, and the Southern Illinois Invitational on Feb. 7, going into the IHSA sectional meet and the state meet. Rhoten is feeling very optimistic at this point in the season.

“I think the guys are feeling good,” Rhoten said. “We told them before the meet that they thrive really well on energy, and bringing energy to meets like this. So if they can bring energy and swim fast in-season, then when they bring energy at the end of the season, and they’re rested and feeling good, then they should go really, really fast. So that was kind of the focus for us tonight.”

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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