Swimming: Clarendon Hills’ Smith, Dietrich splash way to state titles
Craig Smith (left) and Michael Dietrich proudly wear state championship medals they earned at the Illinois LCM Age Group Swimming State Championships.
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:59PM
CLARENDON HILLS — Growing up, Craig Smith, of Clarendon Hills, was always impressed by how fast his brother, Mark, was in swimming.
He wanted to be like his older sibling.
“He was a big influence,” Smith said. “I started swimming when I was 8 because my brother did, so I thought I should do it as well.”
Smith definitely made his brother and family proud with his performance at the Illinois LCM Age Group Swimming State Championships July 26-29 in Kenosha, Wis.
He captured a pair of state championships in the 13-14 division by winning the 200-meter backstroke (2:12.69) and 100 backstroke (1:01.58).
“It means the world to me,” said Smith, who will be a freshman at Hinsdale Central in the fall. “You spend seven or eight months training just to swim a couple events. It all comes down to how much training and work you put in to do well. To accomplish that goal was big. I just wanted to do well. I wanted nothing more than to drop time. I didn’t go in thinking I need to win or drop a giant amount of time. I just wanted to have fun.”
Smith’s friend and Westmont Swim Club teammate Michael Dietrich, also of Clarendon Hills, enjoyed a memorable state meet as well.
He placed first in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:33.73).
“It was very satisfying knowing everything I’ve done was worth it,” Dietrich said. “I worked harder than ever this year and in the end it went well. Winning was in the back of my mind, but wasn’t exactly a priority. I wanted to get top three and get on the podium. It was exciting.”
Billy Leader, of Clarendon Hills, won the state championship in the 100-meter breaststroke in the 11-12 division.
Smith and Dietrich both have brothers on the Hinsdale Central swimming team. Mark Smith and Stephen Dietrich will both be seniors.
“It’s going to be great,” Craig Smith said. “I know a lot of the guys and it will be great to be part of the team. I’m just going to go in full steam ahead and see how it goes.”