EVANSTON – Woodstock North co-op's Quinn Cynor has tempered expectations every year at the IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet since he qualified as a freshman. With one year to go for the two-time Northwest Herald Swimmer of the Year, Cynor is ready to go all out.
"I'm excited for next year already," said Cynor, a junior at Woodstock. "I still need to put on some strength and then we'll see what I can do from there. This really sets me up for that end goal."
Cynor swam in two championship finals for the first time Saturday, placing third in the 200-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100 backstroke. Cynor now has four state medals over the past two seasons.
Cynor was sixth in the 200 free and ninth in the 100 backstroke as a sophomore. Saturday's third-place finish tied the best finish in program history. Brenden Dougherty was third in the 100 free in 2006.
"The highest place in school history, that’s a huge honor for me," Cynor said. "I’m sure that everybody at my school will be proud. Making them proud, my family proud, that’s huge to me."
Cynor swam the 200 free in 1:37.47, setting a personal best time. Loyola Academy's Luke Maurer finished first in 1:36.35, and St. Charles East's Calvin Windle (1:36.95) was runner-up. Cynor went 1:39.06 in Friday's preliminaries.
North co-op coach Ian Shanahan was thrilled to see Cynor finish strong.
"He had a rough day yesterday, which was a little concerning," Shanahan said. "But he came back and had an awesome day. Going in, he wanted to be top six in two events. It’s been cool to see him progress year to year. Hopefully, he’ll keep it rolling into his senior year. Hopefully, next year, he comes back and wins something."
Shanahan said the margin for improvement only gets more challenging from here.
"The better you get in swimming, the harder it becomes to get better," Shanahan said. "You have so much less time to work with. But he’s such a good worker. You never really know what he can do."
Cynor doesn't know what events he'll swim in next year. There's a good chance he will keep swimming in the 200 free. There's also a chance he will compete in the 500 free. Cynor started out his swimming career as a long-distance racer then switched to shorter races in high school.
"The work is going to be tough, but I’m going to keep it in my head the whole year until I get back again and go for it," Cynor said. "I’ve worked hard, but there’s still more. There’s still more to be done."
Cary-Grove co-op's Ben Castro competed in the consolation finals and was 10th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 50.43. improving by two spots from preliminaries. On Friday, he tied the program record (50.40), set by 2013 grad Michael Hamann.
Castro, a sophomore from Crystal Lake Central, joins Hamann, Brent Curtis, Michael Kinross and Cooper Langanis as the only other medalists from the program, according to IHSA.org. He's the first since Langanis in 2016.
"That's impressive," Trojans coach Scott Lattyak said. "Honestly, we can expect bigger things moving forward, knowing he's only going to get stronger. We already have plans on coming back next year."
Castro has two more years to get stronger and faster.
"He has a couple of records so it's pretty nice to be up there," Castro said of tying the 100 butterfly record with Hamann. "It puts more fire in me to keep training and working harder. It’s something to think about for next season."
Castro had a lot of nerves for Friday's prelims. Saturday went much more smoother, he said.
"I knew I had to get all of the sounds out, because it was pretty loud in there," Castro said. "I knew I just had to go hard from the start, which I did today. I went out hard and fast and finished strong."
Castro had some encouragement from his teammates.
"I looked to them right before [the race]," Castro said. "They came all this way to watch and support me, which really helped. I knew I had to go faster for them, too."
Lattyak is excited to see what the standout sophomore can do for next season and beyond.
"He's gotten a little more aggressive with his races," Lattyak said. "He's definitely one of the powerhouses now. He was very strong as a freshman, but now he's competing with the best of the best as a sophomore. That's huge."