Swimming: Black sets Junior National record
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:13AM
Vlad Pyshnenko’s jaw got quite a workout at a swimming meet earlier this month.
It dropped in awe, over and over again — because of superb time drops posted by the CATS Aquatic coach’s boys at the Speedo Junior National Championships in Indianapolis Aug. 13-17.
Mundelein senior/CATS star Connor Black wowed Pyshnenko often, particularly after clocking a Junior National meet record time of 53.16 in the 100-meter fly on Aug. 15.
Pyshnenko’s mind raced all the way back to 1992 after the race. Back then the native of Russia swam for the Unified Team at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, winning a gold medal and two silvers.
“Right away,” Pyshnenko said, “I wanted to know what Pablo Morales’ time was in the 100 fly in Barcelona.”
Morales, of Team USA, took the gold in the event with a slower-than-Black’s-time 53.32.
“When I realized that I was thinking, ‘Whoa … wow,’ ” Pyshnenko said. “I just watched a 17-year-old kid swim an incredible time like that. Yes, it was 20 years ago. But still, you have to be impressed. I was.”
Black, who swam at the U.S. Olympic trials in Nebraska in July, also touched third in the 50 free (CATS-record 23.21), seventh in the 100 free (51.22) and 17th in the 200 free (CATS-record 1:52.73) at Junior Nationals.
“Many big-name colleges want Connor and they’re all lining up to talk to him,” said Pyshnenko, whose CATS club is based in Libertyville and Vernon Hills.
Based on Black’s combined results at the meet, he finished ninth out of 116 competitors. CATS Aquatic, meanwhile, was an impressive eighth at the 88-team meet.
“Connor is outstanding because of his work ethic, his height (6-foot-4) and his muscle flexibility,” said Pyshnenko. “But also because of the boys he’s training with (at CATS). They work hard as a group, all of them do. They’ve been committed for a while to reach a different level — that next level.
“They did that in Indianapolis,” he added. “What they did as a group this summer was incredible, so impressive.”
Black joined CATS mates Alex Snarski (Libertyville), Chad Church (a ’12 Warren graduate) and Peter Grumhaus (Lake Forest) for a third-place effort (CATS-record 3:51.1) in the 400 medley relay. Another CATS 400 medley unit — Lake Villa’s Brenden Bolman and Kyle Aerne, ’12 Stevenson graduate Langston Fitts and Libertyville’s Matt Harrington — placed 22nd in 3:59.26.
CATS Aquatic was one of only two clubs in the country to field a pair of 400 medley relays at the meet.
The quartet of Black, Grumhaus, Fitts and Harrington took eighth in the 400 relay (3:32.37). Grumhaus finished 13th in the 200 back (2:05.74) and 46th in the 400 free (4:05.76) at the meet for 18-and-under swimmers.
Snarski’s 58.84 (time trial) in the 100 backstroke was also swift enough for a CATS team record. ~