Girls swimming: St. Charles N., Rosary start strong at state
Years change, people change, socks change.
Same old St. Charles North.
As they usually do at the IHSA state girls swimming and diving meet, the North Stars rolled into Friday's preliminaries at the new FMC Natatorium in Westmont ready to conduct business.
That they did, qualifying all three relays and eight individual events to Saturday's championship finals.
Coach Rob Rooney said it was "an interesting meet" for his charges.
"The state meet is always a roller coaster, and we were a little behind ourselves in the very beginning, but we calmed down," Rooney said.
Indeed. Senior Paige Armstrong had the highest finish in St. Charles North's individual advances, taking fourth in the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 55.94. She also took eighth in the 200 freestyle in 1:51.94, and led off the meet-concluding 400 freestyle relay, which took second in 3:26.85, .52 behind New Trier.
Joining Armstrong on that relay was freshman anchor Isabelle Beu, who also took fifth in the 200 individual medley in 2:03.21. Beu anchored the 200 freestyle relay, which took fourth in 1:34.75. Joining her in that relay was senior Julia Fifer, senior Angelina Messina and freshman Anna Buvary.
Messina also raced in the meet-starting 200 medley relay, which took sixth in 1:44.72. Joining her was senior Quinn Bike, senior Jillian Wilson and Fifer. Individually, Messina took ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:04.56) and seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.49).
"It was kind of crazy," Messina said. "We came in all really excited. I'd say that we did a good job. But I think tomorrow is going to be even better, though, and I'm super excited to see what we have left."
So what's the game plan between the end of Friday's meet and the start of the championship finals at 11 a.m. Saturday?
"Eat lots of food, definitely sleep, just keep it super chill," she said. "I'm the type of person that likes to keep it chill up until the race, and then I get super hyped and energetic and get my heart rate up and then get ready to go."
The team that gave St. Charles North a bit of a run for their money was Rosary. The Beads played that role to a T Friday.
Rosary also qualified all three relays and advanced three individuals. In fact, the Beads started of the meet by winning their heat in the 200 medley relay, en route to a third-place overall finish in 1:43.50. That team consisted of sophomore Lauren O'Connor, freshman Elizabeth Nawrocki, freshman Becky Rentz and senior Sara Jass.
O'Connor also took sixth in the 100 backstroke in 56.19 seconds.
"I felt pretty good going into it," O'Connor said. "I was a little nervous, but overall I just thought I have to do this for my team and I was really excited about it."
Added Beads coach Glenn Brown: "Lauren O'Connor's 100 backstroke was the rock star swim of the day for us."
Rentz showed her mettle in the 100 butterfly by taking third in 54.36, and in the 400, she, Jass, Kennedy Grosklaus and junior Meghan Eng took eight in 3:28.60.
Another individual who made a name for herself Friday was Kaneland sophomore Leah Hayes, who finished first in both of her events -- the 200 individual medley in 1:56.62, and 48.41 in the 100 freestyle.
The 200 IM was particularly interesting, because she dropped nearly four seconds off her seed time.