Girls swimming: St. Charles North, Rosary open strong at state
Just go all out.
That was the mindset of Naperville Central senior Eden Goettsch at Friday's girls state swimming prelims, and the mantra paid off in a big way.
Goettsch powered to a time of 23.18 in the 50 free at FMC Natatorium in Westmont, good for fourth place overall and a spot in Saturday's championship heat.
The senior said that she is aware of, but tries not to focus on, what goes on strategy-wise during the race but instead is zoned in on the end result.
"Just get off the blocks and have fun," she said of her approach. "It's really just a blur. I am looking at the people next to me as I race, though, just trying to out touch them."
"I go in to every race thinking 'OK, this is the time to step up and be really competitive.' Being out here in a meet like this, with all the great competition, is very exciting. (It especially helped) being right next to my teammate (Lauren Collins, one lane over). We train together and we both got our best times ever today."
The invite proved to be equally thrilling for St. Charles North.
The Stars relay teams qualified in the 200 medley (Jenna Williams, Enya Linson, Nicole Burton and Isabelle Beu), and the 400 free (Linson, Beu, Tessalina Stavropoulos and Elizabeth Bawolek).
Individually for North, Beu was fastest of all (2:00.35) in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 fly; Stavropoulos took runner-up position in the 100 free (50.76) and was fifth in the 50 free; while Linson finished sixth (4:59.90) in the 500 free and fifth (2:03.49) in the 200 IM.
Naperville North's Aimee Duhamel was No. 6 in the fly with a 55.26. Katie Gresik from Oswego East finished fourth in the 500 free.
Oswego East junior Chloe Diner qualified for Saturday with a 2:02.24 time (3rd) in the 200 IM; Goettsch advanced in the 100 back, in fifth place; and Neuqua Valley's Ruhee Chetan placed fifth in the 100 yard breaststroke.
It turned out to be an exemplary meet for Rosary as well.
The Beads' 200 free relay team of Meghan Eng, Becky Rentz, Elizabeth Nawrocki and Olivia Moore raced at 1:34.53, good for fifth, and the team from Aurora excelled in several other events.
Rentz was second in the 100 fly and third (23.10) in the 50 freestyle, and teammate Nawrocki finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:02.30.
In the first swimming event of the day, the 200 medley relay, the Beads' foursome of Eng, Lauren O'Connor, Rentz and Nawrocki got the team off to a terrific start.
They posted a 1:43.29, good for a fourth-place finish, and O'Connor mentioned, agreeing with Naperville Central's Goettsch, that the Friday preliminary event is no place to hold anything back.
"It if doesn't go well out there for you today, there won't be any tomorrow," she said. "As an athlete, you've just to treat today like the end of the meet. You just have to give it your all, or you won't be in the right heat Saturday to get the points (for your team)."
O'Connor, a junior who has already committed to attend and swim for the Bearcats of the University of Cincinnati, added that she knows that the pool at FMC is a site that is built for fast races, so you have to be ready.
"It's really exciting to be a part of this incredible environment, that was a big part of today and gets you motivated," she said.
"One thing I have to add though is that the backstroke starts are very difficult, without the backstroke wedge, but with the touch pad (instead)."