Swimming: Clarendon Hills’ Leader sets state record at Zone Meet
Billy Leader, of Clarendon Hills, (third from left) stands on the awards platform after winning the Boys 11-12 Division 100-meter breaststroke event at the Illinois Age Group State Championships.
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:59PM
CLARENDON HILLS — After just missing a state record at the Illinois Age Group State Championships July 29, Billy Leader of Clarendon Hills was hoping to accomplish the feat at the Central Zone Meet Aug. 3-5 in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
Then, the preliminaries didn’t produce the results he was looking to achieve.
The Hornet Swim Club member, however, saved his best race of the season in the Boys 11-12 Division 100-meter breaststroke finals, finishing first with a time of 1:12.45 to shatter the previous record of 1:14.29 set by Sam McAdam in 1978.
Leader is ranked second nationally in the 100 breast and 12th in the 50 breast.
“During the prelims I didn’t drop a lot of time, so I didn’t think the record was within reach,” Leader said. “At first when I did it I was just shocked. Then, after a while, I just thought it was so cool that I broke a record that was that old. I was really happy about it.”
Competing for Team Illinois, Leader also placed second in the 50 breast (34.54) and finished in the top 20 in the butterfly.
Team Illinois finished first in the meet, which also included swimmers from Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
“I always knew he had a lot of potential, but this is beyond something I would’ve ever expected,” said Mardie Leader, Billy’s mother. “I’m very proud of all the hard work he put in this season.”
While Leader also plays lacrosse and golf and will start playing football in the fall, swimming is his favorite sport.
He began swimming when he was 6.
“I just like how much labor you put in,” said Leader, who credits Hornet Swim Club head coach Mirko Mirkov and assistant coaches Mike Slotwinski and Eric Thuneman for his success. “You decide how good you want to be and it shows at meets.”
Hornet Swim Club members also qualifying for the Central Zone Meet were Stephanie Bowater, Alex Knutte, Peyton Lienhart, Tiffany Matulis, Lainey Quinones, Grace Rogowski, Jake Stukas, Hailey Vandenbosch and Jason Yang.