Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2013, 8:35 pm

IHSA UTHS Sectional swimming

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By Chris Steele, chrissteele@qconline.com

Photo: BILL NICE
Rock Island's George Pappas competes in the 100 Yard Butterfly during Saturday's WB6 Conference meet at Mustain Pool in Galesburg. BILL NICE/The Register-Mail
Where and when: Diving begins at United Township H.S. at 8:30 a.m. Swimming events begin at noon.

At stake: A spot at the IHSA State Finals at New Trier High School next weekend. Event winners and all swimmers who beat set qualifying marks advance to state.

State qualifying marks: 200 Medley Relay 1:38.34; 200 Free 1:45.39; 200 IM 1:58.51; 50 Free :21.91; 100 Butterfly :52.87; 100 Free :48.09; 500 Free 4:47.79; 200 Free Relay 1:28.01; 100 Back :54.18 ; 100 Breast 1:00.83; 400 Free Relay 3:14.97.

Storylines: This is the meet where time drops are mandatory and season-bests are expected by state hopefuls.

The team title chase should be a chess match between front-runner Dunlap, which is a new addition to this sectional this season, and defending sectional champ Rock Island.Dunlap comes in with several favorable seed times, but Rocky should be able to challenge in almost every event.

Rock Island's Josh Fleming holds the fastest seed time in the 500 yard freestyle (4:56.37), but will have stiff competition from Sterling's Keaton Dir (4:57.57).Fleming could also be in the midst of another photo finish in the 200 freestyle (1:47.96) where he is matched up against Dir (1:48.48), and Sterling Newman's Warren Melton (1:47.82).

In the 200 individual medley, Rock Island's George Pappas (2:00.54) will be in a pivotal matchup against Dunlap's Andy Cooper (2:00.43).

Pappas (53.88) and Rocky teammate Daniel Rodriguez (53.92) are expected to push each other for a spot at state in the 100 butterfly.

Rodriguez (22.29) will be another key piece to Rocky's title defense in the 50 freestyle, running up against Dunlap's Nathan Eppel (22.02).

Dunlap's Jared Tyre (53.43) is favored in the 100 backstroke, but don't count out Moline's Fermann Flowers (56.74) who has shown an ability to step up in big meets.

In diving, United Township's Jordan Witherspoon (322.60) and Mark Cervantes (302.60) will be in the mix after being the top two at the Western Big 6 Conference championship. It will be difficult for anyone other than the champ to earn a spot at state through at-large berths.

Sterling's Keanu Interone's seed time of 59.09 in the 100 breaststroke is faster than the sectional record he set a season ago (59.18). He then finished second at the IHSA State meet.


-- By Chris Steele, chrissteele@qconline.com