Whitney Young Holds Off Jones-Payton For Back-To-Back Boys Swimming City Titles

By Michael Wojtychiw

Young celebrates its swimming city title.

The Chicago Public League sport of boys swimming celebrated a major milestone Friday and Saturday when its annual championship took place at Whitney Young. 

Two-thousand and twenty-three’s championships marked the 100th anniversary of naming a city champion, but one thing did not change: Young’s stance at the top of the podium. Coming into the meet, the Dolphins had won eight championships since 2010, including last year’s triumph over the Jones-Payton Co-Op. 

Much like the two teams’ regular season matchup that saw Young hold off Jones-Payton, the Dolphins came out on top in their own pool, outscoring Jones-Payton 275-258.

“This is really special,” Young coach Max Boettcher said. “We’re the only school in the city that’s hosted, so we get a little homefield advantage and you’ve got to take advantage.”

“It feels great, but this isn’t what we want to win. We want to win sectionals.”

Despite just missing out on the city title, Jones-Payton had a number of very impressive finishes, led by sophomore Rayburn Kohl and junior Jackson Heinlein-Preseault. The two swimmers each won two individual titles and help contribute to the team’s 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay wins. 

Kohl, in particular, had himself quite the day, setting a city meet, CPL and pool record in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.67) and a pool record in the 100-yard backstroke (51.5). He also helped his squad earn a pool and city meet record in the medley relay (1:36.49) and a pool record in the 400 free relay (3:12.92).

“The atmosphere and it being a city meet really helped me in the races,” he said. “It was fun to come out here and swim fast, see what you can do.

“Backstroke is definitely my strongest stroke. My height really helps out, but putting in the work, going hard in practice…that’s really what helps me succeed.”

Saturday’s meet featured three new city meet records, one new CPL record and eight new pool records in total.

Kohl, a sophomore, is in his first year swimming for his high school team after primarily swimming for his club team last year. He’s glad he was able to experience how fun the environment was.

“This is a really fun and cool environment,” he said. “It’s loud, jam-packed, full of people. It’s the same kids we race against in club, so that makes it that much more fun to come out here and swim well.”

Heinlein-Preseault helped Jones-Payton with the above records, while also setting the pool record in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.17), finishing one one-hundreth off of tying the city meet record. He also won the 200-yard freestyle.

Jones-Payton wasn’t the only squad with impressive finishes, however. Young’s championship performance was led by some veterans in returning state qualifier Nate Affolter, fellow senior James Bui and standout freshman Kale Chow.

Afolter and Chow both finishes with first- and second-place finishes in their respective races and Bui took first and third in his. Affolter also swam the leadoff leg of the city meet- and pool-record setting Dolphins 200-yard freestyle relay.

“At the beginning of the season, the guys came in with their best times but we it a wall midway through the season,” the Young coach said. “We’re now hitting that portion of the season where everyone is getting faster and their times are getting better and better each week.

“I’ve got four captains on the team and they’ve really helped set the tone this year. You need that because a coach can’t do everything, so they help keep people focused and make sure everyone is getting what they need done. We’re a family.”

Andreas Miclea, a Northside senior and returning state qualifier, was the other individual champion, winning the 100-yard freestyle in 48.47 second, a new pool record.

Boys Swimming Event Winners:

200-yard individual medley relay: Jones-Payton (Rayburn Kohl, Jackson Heinlein-Preseault, Wes Zhao, Benjamin Gottschall) – 1:36.49*

200-yard freestyle: Heinlein-Preseault – 1:46.12

200-yard individual medley: Kohl – 1:57.67^

50-yard freestyle: Nate Affolter, Young – 21.9

100-yard butterfly: James Bui, Young – 53.08

100-yard freestyle: Andreas Miclea, Northside – 48.47%

500-yard freestyle: Kale Chow, Young – 4:45%

200-yard freestyle relay: Young (Affolter, Ben Morelock, Manny Cisneros, Turner Ferguson) – 1:27.04*

100-yard backstroke: Kohl – 51.5%

100-yard breaststroke: Heinlein-Preseault – 59.17%

400-yard freestyle relay: Jones-Payton (Zhao, Gottschall, Kohl, Heinlein-Preseault) – 3:12.92%

*city meet and pool record

^city meet, CPL and pool record

%pool record

Individual Diving

Lane’s Owen Lee dominated the varsity diving portion of the meet held on Friday. The sophomore scored an impressive 421.2 points in the event, beating out Brooks’ David Robinson, who scored 268.25 points. This was the first time in his young career that Lee captured a score over 400.

” I really wasn’t expecting it,” Lee said. ” I was just coming here to dive for me and I think cracking over 400 just puts the cherry on top… It’s thanks to a lot of people.”

“I think the most impressive thing is that he didn’t have the twisters before this year,” Head Coach Matt O’Hagan said. “Now that he’s added them, it’s bumped him up to the next level…. Super proud.”

Sophomore Noah Tennenbaum secured the sophomore level individual diving title for Whitney Young with a score of 119.35, while Timothy McKay came in second place with a score of 103.45 for Julian High School.

Skip to content