A pair of record performances and a close team race provided plenty of highlights at Saturday’s Omaha Westside’s Warrior Invitational swimming and diving meet.
In one of the last big regular season invitationals before conference meets on Feb. 15, the Millard West boys and Millard North girls won the team championships before a capacity crowd at Westside.
The Millard North girls won only two of the 11 swimming events but edged host Westside 426.5-425 while Millard West had a more comfortable 502-385 margin of victory over the Warriors in the boys meet.
There were two meet records set during the two-day invitational. The first came during Friday’s diving competition when Joey Weber of Ralston/Omaha Gross posted an 11-dive score of 492.40 points. That topped the meet and pool record of 447.95 by Lincoln East’s Jason Bauman in 1995.
Grand Island freshman Matthew Novinski took more than one full second off the 100-yard backstroke record by touching first in 52.70 seconds. The previous record of 53.97 was set by Chris Mailliard of Westside in 1992 and equaled in 2006 by Tyler Nielsen of Elkhorn.
Novinski already was ranked second this season behind Jacob Molacek of Omaha Creighton Prep at 53.67. Making almost a full second drop four weeks before the state meet tells Islanders coach Brian Jensen that faster times are on the horizon.
“He’s been doing this for a long time,” Jensen said. “He has the build for the event and has a lot of natural ability.”
Jensen was beaming about Novinski’s first 50 yards as he made the turn in under 25 seconds. Things got a little tougher on the final 50, and Jensen knows exactly what needs to be done to get that fixed.
“He needs to be more consistent out of his underwaters, go quicker into the turns and be more consistent on his kicks,” Jensen said. “He went out in 24, but he has to bring it back better.”
Novinski’s brother Daniel also won a gold medal by outdueling Michael Mollak of Elkhorn/Elkhorn South in the 500 freestyle. The two swam together for the entire race, but instead of getting nipped at the end as he did by Lincoln East swimmers in a dual Thursday, Daniel Novinski edged Mollak by 0.05 seconds, winning in 4:54.05.
Garrett Cadotte of Ralston/Gross and Luke Van Wie of Grand Island both won a pair of individual events.
Cadotte first won the 200 individual medley in 1:58.84 and the 100 butterfly in 52.63.
Van Wie swept the sprint freestyle races — both in season-best times. He first won the 50 in 22.14, the eighth-fastest time this season. Van Wie then moved into a tie for fifth with Ryan Tate of Omaha Creighton Prep on the 100 list by touching in 48.30.
The two wins by the Millard North girls were by Mary Luddy in the 200 freestyle (1:58.72) and Holly Hopson in the 500 freestyle (5:20.03). Bryn Lohrberg of Elkhorn/Elkhorn South won two events, sweeting the sprint freestyles.
Team scoring: Millard West 502, Omaha Westside 385, Elkhorn/Elkhorn South 292, Ralston/Omaha Gross 285.5, Millard North 270, Grand Island 250, Lincoln Pius X 136, Scottsbluff 110, Bellevue West 101, Hastings 100.5, Kearney 45.
Event winners: 200-yard medley relay: Grand Island (Eric Lewandowski, Daniel Novinski, Matthew Novinski, Luke Van Wie), 1:41.82. 200 freestyle: Michael Mollak, E/ES, 1:47.53. 200 individual medley: Garrett Cadotte, R/G, 1:58.84. 50 freestyle: Van Wie, 22.14. 1-meter diving: Joey Weber, R/G, 492.40 points (meet and pool record, betters 447.95 by Jason Bauman, Lincoln East, 1995). 100 butterfly: Cadotte, 52.63. 100 freestyle: Van Wie, 48.30. 500 freestyle: Daniel Novinski, GI, 4:54.05. 200 freestyle relay: Elkhorn/Elkhorn South (Jesse Holmes, River-Sage Tucker, Riley Herchenbach, Mollak), 1:30.86. 100 backstroke: Matthew Novinski, GI, 52.70 (pool and meet record, betters 53.97 by Chris Mailliard, Westside, 1992, and Tyler Nielsen, Elkhorn, 2006). 100 breaststroke: Tucker, 1:03.76. 400 freestyle relay: Grand Island (Lewandowski, M. Novinski, D. Novinski, Van Wie, 3:17.03. 1,000 freestyle: Jack Luddy, MN, 10:48.99.
Team scoring: Millard North 426.5, Omaha Westside 425, Millard West 385, Omaha Marian 327, Lincoln Pius X 224.5, Elkhorn/Elkhorn South 224, Grand Island 174.5, Kearney 101, Ralston/Omaha Gross 88.5, Scottsbluff 58, Bellevue West 37, Hastings 6.
Event winners: 200-yard medley relay: Millard West (Lindsey Stalheim, Caroline Jones, Tara Goss, Grace Mueller), 1:53.40. 200 freestyle: Mary Luddy, MN, 1:58.72. 200 individual medley: Elizabeth Amato-Hanner, Westside, 2:09.23. 50 freestyle: Bryn Lohrberg, E/ES, 25.26. 1-meter diving: Anna Howorth, E/ES, 433.75 points. 100 butterfly: Goss, 59.41. 100 freestyle: Lohrberg, 54.80. 500 freestyle: Holly Hopson, MN, 5:20.03. 200 freestyle relay: Omaha Marian (Naeleah Hadford, Antonia Franco, Anya Lindholm, Brynn Robertson), 1:42.67. 100 backstroke: Stalheim, 1:00.01. 100 breaststroke: Carly Wahlmeier, GI, 1:09.63. 400 freestyle relay: Omaha Westside (Grace Porter, Kylene Abraham, Savanna Couillard, Amato-Hanner), 3:42.05. 1,000 freestyle: Emily Hart, MN, 11:33.94.