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Leadership Roles Propel Lake Forest Trio to Medals at State

Malone, Bunning and Grumhaus evolve into team leaders.

At last year’s State Meet, swimmers like Davis Malone, Bryan Bunning and Peter Grumhaus had the benefit of leadership from people like two-time state champion Matt Stoehr.

When this season began, it was their turn. 

took the torch from Stoehr and their leadership was on display Friday and Saturday when it was their time to shine in the State Finals at New Trier. 

“He (Stoehr) was very quiet. He led by example,” Malone said, the only senior of the three. “You never saw him slack and we wouldn’t either.” 

Bunning, a junior, got the message as well. “He didn’t need to say anything. We just knew.” 

Malone, Bunning and Grumhaus all followed Stoehr’s lesson of showing by example. It made it easier for them to assume the mantle of leadership this year. 

“These three () became our role models,” Lake Forest coach Cindy Dell said. “They are making our future look bright.” 

Dell primed her three stars for leadership from the from the graduation of “some heavy hitters” like Stoehr. 

“They all stood up and led,” Dell said. “They never slacked and everyone saw that.”

Malone finished seventh in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:35.39, his best time of the year. Grumhaus placed ninth in the same race also with a season-best time of 4:37.23. Bunning placed eighth in the 100 backstroke with a best clocking of 51.80. 

hardly expected to be thrust into a leadership role as a sophomore, but adjusted as the season went along as he kept racking up medals. 

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Grumhaus said. “When you show it (a strong work ethic), they (teammates) respect it.”

A year ago, Grumhaus' best time in the 500 freestyle was 4:50. He reduced that standard by 13 seconds this season. 

also never anticipated becoming a team leader after last year’s State Meet or when this season began.

“We worked really hard in practice and everyone got the message,” Bunning said. “No one would slack."

demonstrated another example of leadership by swimming breaststroke in the 200 medley relay, admittedly not his strongest event. The relay qualified for the State Meet, but its preliminary time of 1:38.21 was just over a second shy of making Saturday’s finals. 

“Somebody had to swim breaststroke so I did,” said Malone. His strongest events this season have been the longer freestyle races. He made the effort so the Scouts could put more points on the board at state. “If I were a little stronger we would have made the final 12.” 

Dell was quick to discount any remorse Malone might have. She had nothing but praise for the trio's efforts. “I couldn’t be prouder of these three,” she said.

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