WESTMONT — Uni High coach Hannah Newman was the one that had to deliver the bad news to Andrew Lin following the 100-yard backstroke two years ago at the state meet. The then-sophomore had finished 13th in the preliminary race for the second time that day.

Two races.

Two 13th-place finishes.

Zero opportunity to advance to finals.

The script was flipped Friday at FMC Natatorium in Westmont. Now a senior, Lin finished fourth in both the 100-yard butterfly in 48.57 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 49.43 seconds and qualified for the “A” finals in both events.

“That was the best time he’s ever gone,” Newman said about Lin’s 100-yard backstroke race. “He started off strong and got out to the front at the beginning of the race and just kind of held on. Going best times was kind of his goal for the weekend. The 100 fly was right around that best time — about a half second off. I know he missed the wall on two of his three turns, so he’s got more in the tank for (finals).”

Lin will have company in Saturday’s finals.

Fellow Uni High senior Jake Regenwetter also qualified in two events, reaching the “B” finals in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke. Regenwetter swam the 200 IM in 1 minute, 51.91 seconds and the 100 breaststroke in 56.75 seconds.

“He’s been dealing with some issues the last five months or so and not really been able to practice hard,” Newman said of Regenwetter. “Getting in there and making finals in both those events, I’m really proud of him. Being in ‘B’ finals and being able to come back (Saturday), he already has a game plan in mind for how he can improve in (Saturday’s) swims.”

Lin and Regenwetter also swam on Uni High’s 200-yard medley relay relay team that started Friday’s preliminaries. They were joined by Robert Gao and Ryan He, both of whom were making their state meet debuts, and the Illineks’ team finished 28th with a time of 1:39.34.

Champaign Central also had a double qualifier for “A” finals in Nolan Miller.

The Maroons’ junior swam the 200-yard freestyle in 1:39.20 to finish fourth in the preliminary race, and he added another race to his finals slate Saturday with a sixth-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:32.48.

“I thought he swam really well, dropped a lot of time, and he’s in a really great position,” Central coach Dave Young said of Miller’s efforts Friday. “He’s worked really hard this year. He basically tapered for this meet as opposed to sectionals. I think that explains a lot of the time drop.”

Miller’s time in the 200 freestyle prelim was more than a second better than his seed time. There was an even bigger jump in the 500 freestyle, with Miller swimming nearly seven seconds faster Friday than his seed time.

“I don’t put any limits on what Nolan can achieve because he surprises you all the time,” Young said. “Right now, he’s int he top six in both events — the A final — and you can’t really ask for anything more. ... There’s a lot of talented swimmers up here. There’s a lot of pressure to make the finals, and he did that. Now that pressure is off his back, and (Saturday) he can let it all hang out.”

Central also had two relays competing and Aidan Williams in a pair of individual events. Williams finished 24th in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.57 seconds and placed 40th in the 100-yard freestyle in 48 seconds. The Maroons’ 200-yard freestyle relay team of Austin Barker, Miller, Williams and Maddox Dempsey placed 28th in 1:30.37. The team of Williams, Dempsey, Josh Lee and Jack Vasquez swam 3:27.23 to finish 32nd in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Several other area swimmers and divers competed Friday in the preliminary round. St. Thomas More’s Mitchell Hynds placed 37th in the 1-meter diving prelims with a score of 175.10 points. Mahomet-Seymour’s Max Katz was 44th with 153.30 points.

Sullivan’s Ethan Schmohe qualified for two events at the state meet. The Sullivan junior finished 31st in the 50-yard freestyle preliminaries in 21.72 seconds and was 30th later in the day Friday in the 100-yard backstroke in 52.60 seconds. Monticello senior Dalton Glynn was the final area swimmer to compete and placed 20th in the 100-yard backstroke prelims in 57.91 seconds.

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).