They’ll be rolling out the welcome “Matt” at Sandburg High School on Monday.
Welcome home, Matt Veldman. Welcome home, Eagles.
Veldman, a senior standout following in the footsteps of his older brother Mike, led Sandburg’s boys swimming team on a historic journey that ended with the Eagles tying for fourth place in the IHSA state meet Saturday in Evanston. He was clocked in 49.50 seconds and placed second in the 100-yard butterfly.
And he worked with his teammates on three state-medal winning relay teams as Sandburg scored 73 points and became the first south-suburban boys swimming team ever to notch three straight top-10 finishes at the IHSA state meet.
The Eagles tied Hinsdale Central for fourth place. New Trier won the team title with 250 points. Naperville North placed second with 130 points, followed by Gurnee Warren with 80 points. Sandburg placed 10th in 2011 and eighth in 2010.
"Four amazing seniors led the way to the best finish in Sandburg swimming history—Stan Grotkiewicz, Stephen Zieler, Matt Veldman and Anthony Bonnar," Eagles coach Jim Caliendo said. "Fourth place is the best finish in Sandburg history.
"This finish is a fitting tribute to a group of guys who care about each other and swim for each other. Each one of them swam seconds faster on relays than in individual events. This is due to the fact that they would rather swim for each other than for themselves."
Veldman placed fifth the 100 fly a year ago. He was edged in the race for the individual title this time by Loyola Academy’s Andrew Jovanovic in a tight battle to the finish. Jovanovic was clocked in 48.78.
"Matt Veldman was a man on a mission," Caliendo said. "He led the way both in the butterfly and on all three relays. His leadership both in and out of the water was integral to the teams success."
Sandburg placed ninth in the 200-yard medley relay. Stephen Zieler, David Apps, Veldman and Michael O’Malley were clocked in 1:35.61. The Eagles added second-place finishes in the 200 free relay (1:24.56) and the 400 free relay (3:05.98).
O’Malley, Anthony Bonnar and Stan Grotkiewicz teamed with Veldman in the 200 free relay. Veldman, O’Malley, Zieler and Grotkiewicz were members of Sandburg’s 400 free relay team. The four were ranked third after qualifying on Friday.