'Amazing' Zito Second at State

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Byline: Neil Shalin Daily Herald Correspondent

At the state swimming meet on Saturday, Nick Zito of the Addison Trail-Willowbrook co-op team went in to the finals seeded first after swimming a 1:51.22 in Friday's prelims.

He even dropped time Saturday, but his 1:50.05 wasn't quite enough to top New Trier's Jae Park, who touched in 1:50.04.

"I made a late run and tried to run him down," said Zito, a 6-foot-8 senior. "But I just couldn't get there. It was the best time I've ever gotten, but that's a hollow victory. This is really bittersweet because I came so close to getting the championship."

Zito, who also finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke, finished seventh in the breaststroke as a junior and he didn't score in the 200 IM.

His swimming success is a tribute to his ability to overcome obstacles since he has no high school pool in which to train and he has to commute more than a half hour to practice every day at an Addison health club.

"Not having a pool and the long commute just makes me work harder," Zito said. "I have to outwork all the other guys who have pools and no commute."

Coach Kirk Ziemke was disappointed for Zito but is also amazed by the swimmer's season and specifically with his work this weekend in the IM.

"I couldn't be prouder of him," Ziemke said. …