Girls swimming: DuPage County and Fox season preview
The Rosary girls swimming and diving team isn't all business when it comes to their craft in trade.
It only seems that way.
Drop by practice on a late summer afternoon at Marmion, and there the Beads are, taking laps under the watchful eye of coach Glenn Brown.
But before hitting the pool, there is laughing and joking, however muted. This group knows how to have fun, too.
So which is it -- business or fun?
"I would say it's a little bit of both," said senior captain Meghan Eng, a backstroker. "I would definitely say we're trying to have as much fun as possible, but as team captain, I'm always trying to do things behind the scenes to make sure that the team is prepared for all these meets.
"But I would definitely say all of us are focusing on the goal of trying to bring home a trophy at state."
Rosary got close a year ago, finishing seventh with 52 points, one ahead of perennial power Stevenson.
The Beads were led by then-freshman Becky Rentz, from Batavia, who finished second in the 100-yard butterfly at 54.09 seconds. Classmate Elizabeth Nawrocki took fourth in he 100 breaststroke in 1:03.44. Lauren O'Connor, now a junior, finished sixth in the 100 backstroke at 56.31.
Eng and Rentz also contributed to a ninth-place finish in the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay at 3:29.37. The leadoff in that race was the graduated Sara Jass, who is at Illinois, and of whom Brown called "a rock star."
Jass may be gone, but there is plenty of firepower for Brown, who's in his fourth year at the helm of Rosary, particularly in the sophomore class, led by Rentz and Nawrocki.
How did those girls acquire such poise to be so competitive at state? Go back in time to find out.
"In swimming, I like to say there's three different years which will be hard for them," Brown said. "When they turn 9, they don't get to swim 25 (yards) anymore, which is one lap of the pool. They have to do at least 2 laps. When they turn 13, there are no more 50s.
"When they are freshmen, they have to swim against 15- 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds, because that's all its own age group, and that can be very intimidating. I was blessed last year with our freshmen, who had been to a lot of club swimming state meets, and I think the biggest thing is pumping their heads full of confidence."
This year's squad is similar to a year ago, in that the Beads will be strong in stroke events, i.e., the events that aren't freestyle. The focus this year is building up a little more sprint speed in freestyle. No one can replace Jass, but the plan is for one of those youngsters to step up and score the points that she did.
"It should be a fun year," Brown said.
But business-like as well, according to Rentz and Nawrocki.
"I mean, there is always a business element to it, as with any competitive swimming," Rentz said, "but high school swimming is so much fun."
"I would say we have good balance," added Nawrocki.
Girls swimming at a glance
Key dates: Sectionals Nov. 5; State meet Nov. 11-12 in Westmont
2021 sectional champions: Hersey, St. Ignatius, Hinsdale Central, Dunlap, Edwardsville, Andrew, Stevenson, Lincoln-Way East, Oswego East, Normal, Oak Park, Lyons, Byron, St. Charles North, Champaign Central, New Trier
2021 state top five: New Trier (182), Barrington (100), Hinsdale Central (100), Oswego East (98), St. Charles North (97)
Top swimmers: Olivia Allendorf, Dundee-Crown, senior; Jazmine Aragon, Fenton, senior; Ellie Bawolek, St. Charles North, senior; Izzy Beu, St. Charles North, sophomore; Kylee Blaha, West Aurora, senior; Kalina Ceglinski, York, senior; Lanie Chen, Hinsdale South, sophomore; Jillian Cherwin, Huntley, senior; Ruhee Chetan, Neuqua Valley, junior; Lauren Collins, Naperville Central, senior; Lainey Devine, Benet, senior; Una Dizdarevic, Lake Park, sophomore; Payton Dorman, St, Charles East, junior; Imogen Duffy, Benet, sophomore; Aimee Duhamel, Naperville North, senior; Isabella Ecklund, Larkin, senior; Meghan Eng, Rosary, senior; Alison Fitzgerald, Dundee-Crown, senior; Maeve Flaherty, Glenbard West/South, junior; Jackie Gabbert, St. Francis, sophomore; Tori Hinson, Elgin, senior; Elizabeth Hritz, Lisle, freshman; Maggie Johnston, Hinsdale South, junior; Courtney Kaye, St. Edward, sophomore; Carrie Kramer, Hinsdale Central, senior; Allie Leslie, Metea Valley, junior; Chloe Lobdell, Glenbard West/South, junior; Veronica Loska, Fenton, sophomore; Cami Mayo, West Chicago, senior; Ruby Meier, Waubonsie Valley, sophomore; Grace Mercado, Larkin, junior; Mikella Mesina, South Elgin, sophomore; Katelyn Mumper, Hampshire/Jacobs, junior; Amelia Murphy, West Chicago, junior; Kaylin Olsen, South Elgin, junior; Lizzie Patterson, Naperville North, senior; Bella Plude, Waubonsie Valley, sophomore; Becky Rentz, Rosary, sophomore; senior; Anna Robbins, Hampshire/Jacobs, junior; Lizzy Rosenburg, Neuqua Valley, junior; Ava Russo, Lake Park, sophomore; Amanda Schmitt, Metea Valley, senior; Kit Schneider, Hinsdale Central, senior; Abbie Sheldon, St. Francis, sophomore; Clare Shiffer, Naperville Central, senior; Julia Smitendorf, Huntley, senior; Jessica Solar, Glenbard North, senior; Jasmine Soria-Gonzalez, Lisle, senior; Tess Walsh, St. Charles East, senior; Grace Weisse, West Aurora, senior; Ella Witteveen, Glenbard North, senior; Brooke Wolfe, York, senior.
-- Compiled by Gregg Voss