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Yoon, Lueken looking for breakout season

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Yoon, Lueken looking for breakout season

Calvin Yoon(12) sprints to the finish in the 50-yard freestyle at last year's dual meet against Maine East

Calvin Yoon(12) sprints to the finish in the 50-yard freestyle at last year's dual meet against Maine East

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Calvin Yoon(12) sprints to the finish in the 50-yard freestyle at last year's dual meet against Maine East

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Calvin Yoon(12) sprints to the finish in the 50-yard freestyle at last year's dual meet against Maine East

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As Girls Swim and Dive wraps up their season at the IHSA State meet, the boys team dives right into theirs. Last year, Head Swim Coach Adam Lueken, Head Diving Coach Brooke Gabris, and the boy’s team sent three individual qualifiers to the state meet at New Trier High School: Calvin Yoon(12), qualified in the 50 freestyle and 100 breastroke, and graduated seniors Jeffrey Zhang and Gene Palazkou qualified in the 100 backstroke and diving respectfully.

Varsity Captain Yoon has his goals set high this season, as he is unsure of whether he will swim in college or not.

“Individually, I want to get top six in state for both my events,” he said. “I’m going to try hard in practices and do some yoga and stuff outside [already scheduled practices], but mostly I’m trying to have fun this year, since it’s probably my last year swimming.”

Although he swam the 50 freestyle and 100 breastroke last year, this year Yoon said he is switching to the 200 individual medley but keeping the 100 breast, in honor of his late friend Josh Church. Church was a swimmer for Warren High School and the club team that runs through Vernon Hills and Libertyville, Cats Aquatics. He tragically passed away in Nov. 2016 due to an unknown cardiac arrhythmia, or improper beating of the heart.

“Those were Josh’s favorite events, and I could probably drop a lot of time in the IM if I train for it,” he explained.

As a team, Yoon expressed that this is a building year for the Cougars, so he wants to help pave the way for the underclassmen for years to come.

“We’ve got some good freshmen coming in, and a lot of good seniors left, so I’m going to do my best to get the freshmen and other people that are going to be on the team next year to improve,” he said.

To reach their goals this season, however, Lueken says they are trying some new things, like getting rid of morning practices completely. He said this change is to encourage the guys to get more sleep so they can work harder and smarter at practice, and race that way, too.

“Each practice will be fast-paced, demanding, and meaningful,” he said. “We’ve also shifted the coaching staff so that distance and IM’ers have their own coach, which is super helpful because sprint training is very different than distance training.”

Yoon said he is on board with the removal of morning practices.

“It puts more focus on the afternoon practices, and we aren’t as tired in [the] classroom as well as practice,” he explained.

While Yoon is the only returning state qualifier to the Cougars lineup this winter, Lueken said that the boys have a lot to look forward to this season.

“We are looking to have a breakout season with a lot of our talent coming from our younger classes,” Lueken said. “We are looking to get a relay and a couple individuals down to state.”

Lueken is referring to their medley relay, Kevin Diaz(12), Caleb Thomson, Jackson Murrie(12), Sebastian Domench(10), and Calvin Yoon(12).

“These boys have been working hard in the off season and they are ready,” Lueken said.

Coach Gabris explained that the divers will be fun to coach this year as the boys “are committed and focused.”

Gabris also agreed with Lueken that senior Kevin Diaz will be the diver to watch out for this year.

“Kevin Diaz is starting the season with a great list of dives and dedication [and] has the best chance to qualify for state with the list of dives he is already performing,” she said.

The boys started off their season with a win at the Hoffman Estates Candy Cane Classic on Dec. 9. Their first home dual meet is Friday, Jan. 5 against Deerfield High School.

Head Boys Swim Coach Lueken cheers on his swimmers

Coach Lueken cheers on his swimmers at last years dual meet against Maine East

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