Chicago Public Schools tend to be known for their talented basketball players.
A Young junior is trying to change that.
At the boys state swimming and diving meet Friday, Mossimo Chavez won his preliminary heats in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles, with times of 21.03 and 46.01 seconds. Chavez has a chance to become the first Public League swimmer to win a state title in 62 years.
Harrison's John Moskiewicz won the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle in 1952, marking the last time a CPS student won any length or discipline at the boys state meet. Vocational's Arthur Hill won the last diving title among Public League athletes in 1981.
"If you just work at it, it doesn't really matter where you swim," Chavez said, adding that he's focused on self-improvement and not milestones. "If you put in the work, you'll get the results."
Chavez finished sixth at state last year and 11th as a freshman in the 50-yard freestyle.
Held split-second from records: Chavez's task won't be easy. Sacred Heart-Griffin senior Ryan Held nearly broke the state records in both of Chavez's individual events.
Held came within nine-hundredths of a second of breaking the 50-yard freestyle state record of 19.80, set last year by Mundelein's Connor Black. Held came even closer to breaking the state barrier in the 100-yard freestyle.
The senior missed the two marks by a combined 0.11 seconds. His 44.09-second finish in the 100-yard freestyle blew away the rest of the field and came within three-hundredths of Kevin Overholt's 2009 record for Neuqua Valley. Held swam the 50-yard freestyle in 19.89 seconds — a full second ahead of second-place Jon Salomon of Glenbrook South.
First place in Saturday's final might seem inevitable for Held, but having a contender in his rearview mirror could push him to pursue the state mark.
"When you're up ahead, it's kind of easy to turn it off a little bit," he said. "When there's someone there, you've got to push it all the way to the wall."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun