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St. Charles East's Shanel eyes breakthrough at swimming state meet

East’s Shanel eyes breakthrough in final state meet

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 7:18 a.m. CDT
(Sandy Bressner -
St. Charles East swimmer Will Shanel practices with his team Wednesday afternoon. Shanel will compete at the IHSA boys swimming state meet, which begins Friday in Evanston.

Will Shanel emerged with a Norris Center pool record in the 200-yard individual medley at Saturday's St. Charles East Sectional boys swimming meet.

While his personal best in the 500 freestyle wasn't quite as heralded, it nonetheless fueled the East senior's frenzy.

"Both of those races just kind of made me realize, 'Wow, I'm a lot faster than last season,' " Shanel said. "I'm ready to shave down, suit up and go for what I can pull off this weekend."

Shanel enters his final IHSA state meet with big-picture goals, and would just as soon leave Evanston with more than a few medals in his custody. He's talking legacy, both within an East program coming off its first sectional title since 2002 and his own home.

Along with his 1:52.97 in the 200 IM, which broke Casey Dauw's former standard, Shanel turned in another sectional win in the 500 free, swimming 4:37.45. Although encouraging, that's still more than six seconds shy of his father, Mark, who went 4:31.13 as a Saints standout in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"If I have a great taper, I'm definitely feeling that I can be there," Shanel said. "That would be cool. I definitely want to have bragging rights in that one."

The Shanels have produced their share of swimmers, with Will's parents both collegians at Indiana.

His older sister, Ashley, is a sophomore at NCAA Division II Truman State in Kirksville, Mo., where Will Shanel committed earlier this school year.

Close friend and fellow senior Nick Wellman, a Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit, has noticed added urgency in Shanel's approach. One of three East seniors on the sectional team – Tyler Van Gyseghem is the other – Shanel was the lone Saint to taper for the state meet. All others tapered for sectionals.

"I feel like this is Will's time to shine," Wellman said. "Even with both of us, we're trying to leave our legacy and trying to end with a bang. I feel like winning the sectional last weekend was just a way to end our senior year with an exclamation mark because we haven't won a sectional in 12 years.

"It's one of those things to say, 'Oh yeah, that was my senior year when we won sectionals.' There's lots of excitement between Will and I to have accomplished this as seniors."

East tied for 30th in the team standings at last season's state meet, earning just nine points.

Shanel's 1:53.93 in the 200 IM was good enough for eighth– three-tenths of a second from winning the consolation championship. He later joined seniors Alec Carnell, TJ Bindseil and Taylor Nunnery on the 11th-place 200 freestyle relay.

A busy offseason of club and national events kept Shanel sharp. Once high school season started, the Saints set out with a goal to break the school record of 616,000 training yards, a mark they eclipsed Tuesday.

Those who see Shanel every day report little change in his demeanor since the season started.

"Just real calm, cool, collected," Saints coach Joe Cabel said. "You've got to have that game face. He and all the seniors have that game face."

IHSA state swimming qualifiers

Preliminaries Friday, finals Saturday

Meet at Evanston High School


Nick Boryk, Fr., 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 500 freestyle

Will Shanel, Sr., 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle

John Tarpey, So., 100 backstroke

200 medley relay (Tarpey; Ethan Sellers, Jr.; Shanel; Tyler VanGyseghem, Sr.)

400 freestyle relay (Boryk; Shanel; Nick Wellman, Sr.; Tarpey)


Mike Burke, So., diving

Joe Myhre, So., 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle

Tim Steele, Sr., 100 butterfly

200 medley relay (Myhre; Ross Davis, Sr.; Steele; Collin Bawolek, Sr.)

200 freestyle relay (Bawolek; Davis; Ben Sherman, Jr.; Stephan Hutchinson, So.)

400 freestyle relay (Sherman; Hutchinson; Bawolek; Myhre)


Jack Fergus, Marmion, Sr., 100 backstroke

Andrew Kasper, Jr., 500 freestyle

200 medley relay (Fergus; Mike Burke, Sr.; Dan Creighton, Sr; Kasper)

400 freestyle relay (Kasper, Fergus, Burke, Creighton)


Nathan Jesko, Jr., 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke


Alex Laleian, Sr., 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle

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