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Boys swimming: Adam Stacklin hopes to cap career with state title

Waubonsie Valley's Adam Stacklwins 100-yard backstroke during dual meet against NeuquValley Jan. 10. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

Waubonsie Valley's Adam Stacklin wins the 100-yard backstroke during a dual meet against Neuqua Valley on Jan. 10. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 22, 2013 10:38AM

Adam Stacklin has spent the last four years helping turn around the Waubonsie Valley swimming program.

He’ll spend this weekend cementing his legacy.

Stacklin goes into the state finals at New Trier as a contender to win the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle. He would be just the third Warrior to win an individual state title and the first since 1997.

“I want to be top three in the 200 free, go 1:38, and I want to go 44 (seconds) in the 100 free and I want to win state,” Stacklin said. “I think I can. I have the speed.”

And unlike last year, he has his health. Stacklin finished seventh in the 100 and helped Waubonsie’s 200 freestyle relay to eighth place last year despite swimming all season with a painful back injury.

The injury to his left scapula, which supports the shoulder, finally healed in September and Stacklin has responded with a terrific senior season in which he ranked among the state’s top 30 in nearly every event.

“We’ve had a lot of times this season where the team has needed him to swim stuff in order to win a meet,” Waubonsie Valley coach Nick Arens said. “We’ve put him in against other team’s best guys in an event that’s not his and he goes out and wins those a lot of the time. He’s one of those guys who finds a way, no matter what the stroke is. He’s really been a crucial part for us this year.”

Stacklin headlines a senior class, which includes Mike McWhirter, Stephen Ernst and Kelvin Newton, that has returned the Warriors to prominence. They have a legitimate shot at finishing in the top 10 for the first time since they took fourth in 2005, which capped a streak of seven top-10 finishes in 11 years.

“A lot of guys when I came in freshman year would kind of float around,” said Stacklin, who anchors Waubonsie’s top-ranked 200 free relay as well as the 400 free relay. “They didn’t really do all the yards and ever since Coach Arens has come, I’ve been really stepping it up in the pool. I think we’ve turned it around. Everyone has been doing the yards and working really hard.”

Arens said that Stacklin has been the catalyst behind that work ethic.

“Adam understands how a challenging season works,” Arens said. “He really does a good job of pushing the limit, comes in understanding the work it takes to be a top swimmer. Talent-wise he is really a centerpiece for our program.”

Stacklin will likely swim for either Ohio State or Iowa next season, but right now he’s focused on ending his prep career with a bang, knowing what he does will set an example for Waubonsie’s younger swimmers.

“I don’t know how big of a legacy I’ll have,” Stacklin said. “Obviously if I win state I’ll have a pretty big legacy, but I think just turning around the program and the direction it’s headed, I’m more than happy with what I’ve done (in that area) so far.”

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