Boys swimming: Oswego Co-op’s Chase Maier has banner day at IHSA state with two second-place finishes

Junior lowers lifetime bests in 200, 500 freestyle

Oswego’s Chase Maier swims the 200-yard freestyle during the boys state swimming and diving finals at FMC Natatorium on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Westmont.

Chase Maier celebrated the best weekend of his swimming life with burgers, and a day of bowling with buddies.

His banner will come soon enough.

Maier, an Oswego East junior, had a banner day in the pool on Saturday. He took second place in the 200-yard freestyle, then came back to get second in the 500 freestyle at the IHSA state meet at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont.

“It means a lot,” Maier said. “In our school history I think the best before me had been fourth place. I’m going to get to have two banners up there, and hopefully two state championship banners next year.”

Maier, third in the 500 free as a sophomore, came into the weekend with the state’s best 500 time from sectionals, and the fourth-best 200 time.

He dropped his 500 sectional time by nearly four seconds to post the second-fastest time of 4:27.70 in Friday’s preliminaries. Maier dropped it even further by going 4:24.18 in the finals, second to Neuqua Valley senior Alex Parkinson’s 4:22.33.

“I dropped six seconds from last year at state, and AP dropped maybe six or seven seconds from last year. That was a huge jump for us,” Maier said. “The 500 in prelims I had kind of laid back behind AP. I knew that I was going to make the finals a little bit behind him. I could feel we were going at a fast pace in the finals but I didn’t think it was that fast. I knew it would be me and Alex going at it. I really went for it and he just held me off.”

Oswego’s Chase Maier swims the 500-yard freestyle during the boys state swimming and diving finals at FMC Natatorium on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Westmont.

The 200, Maier just did make the finals as the eighth and final qualifier. He noted that he missed the wall badly, which set him back.

In the finals, however, Maier swam a 24.74 final 50 meters to clip Hinsdale Central’s Nate Harris for second place in 1:37.53. Like the 500 final, it was a career best for Maier.

“I was in lane eight and I could just see lane four. I was really just racing the splashing that I could see in lane four,” Maier said. “I knew I had to pick it up at the third 50. On the last 50 I guess I passed up a lot of people. I was really just racing the splashing water in lane four. I went as fast as I could but I didn’t know where I was on the other side.”

Where Maier now is is a three-time state medalist and owner of the Oswego Co-op program’s 100, 200 and 500 freestyle records with one year of high school still remaining.

“You know, I wouldn’t have doubted that I could do it, but it mainly came down to the times,” Maier said. “If I was told I was going to go 1:37 in the 200 and 4:24 in the 500 I would not have expected that, because I hadn’t had the best tapers. I had a really good taper last week and it allowed me to go fast.”