WINNETKA – Amid the swarms of swimmers from New Trier, Hinsdale Central, Naperville Central and Evanston at the IHSA state meet on Saturday, was a swimmer from a much smaller school.
AFC junior Wade Lyles made his second trip to state this year, competing as part of the Byron co-op.
He and Byron teammates Caleb Carlson, Sergio Solis and Everett Stoker qualified for state in the 200 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay. The Tigers were not able to make it through to Saturday’s finals, taking 23rd in Friday’s prelims for the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:39.36, and 30th in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:30.66.
Though the weekend did not result in any medals for Lyles, he said he still got something out of the experience.
“It’s been pretty amazing, just hanging out with everybody, getting to see the meet,” he said. “It’s been really cool.”
Lyles has been here before, reaching state last year as a sophomore as a part of a 39th-place Byron team in the 400 freestyle relay.
Carlson, a junior from Dixon, said he has
seen the work Lyles
has put in this season
and is seeing the improvements.
“Having 2 years of experience, even going to sectionals, he was nervous, but once he stepped up, he really performed well,” Carlson said. “He was a huge asset to our team this year.”
In her first year as Byron’s coach,
McKenna Kurth has seen a lot of growth from Lyles already.
“He really learned to get after his races, and get up and get going,” she said. “That’s definitely improved over the
His best event is the breaststroke, and Lyles said his goal is the qualify in that event next year as a senior. He took sixth at the Byron Sectional in the breaststroke this season.
In an effort to drop his time in that and other events, he will continue to swim in the offseason for his club team,
the Dixon Dolphins, giving him the ability to work on his strokes year-round.
Though he swims under the banner of Byron, he said people at AFC have been supportive of his trip to state with the Tigers.
“They say congratulations and ask me how stuff’s going,” Lyles said.