Girls swimming: Buffalo Grove tops Fremd for 1st MSL championship

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/29/2022 5:39 PM

The 50 free and the 100 free are go all out, fast as you can, sprint to the finish line events.

Saturday in Palatine at the Mid-Suburban League girls swimming championships, Fremd junior Katie Kuehn excelled in both.


Kuehn won the 50 (time of 23.85) and the 100 (52.47), and her stellar effort helped lead the Vikings to a second-place team finish.

Buffalo Grove won the title with a point total of 259. Fremd finished at 219, while Barrington was third with 196.

Kuehn, a junior, said she came into the meet looking to "have fun, don't get too upset over what happens in the races, and enjoy the moment."

She also credited her teammates with giving her the boost she needed to succeed.

"Every single one of them are such hard workers," she said. "I love being teammates with them. They constantly push me at practice, they help be a better swimmer and a better person in general, with how I communicate and other things like that. It's been a growing process for all of us, and throughout the season I think we've grown pretty close."

Vikings coach Andrew Kittrell is, to say the least, extremely pleased to have Kuehn leading the charge for his team.

"Katie is one of the most mentally tough athletes that I've ever coached," he said. "She's incredibly team centric, and one of the most refreshing things about her is that she's always thinking about the model she sets, as well as how she's going to affect her teammates."

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"She's also a beast in the pool. These (the 50 and the 100) are two painful races, and I'm very encouraged today to see how she handled that. As a team we're a little beat up, a little tired, so the fact that the guts those out is a great sign of things to come."

For the crown-winning Bison, the 200 medley relay team started the day on a high note. Reese Frighetto, Victoria Surdyka, Gianna Gagliano, and Abigail Swanson were victorious in the time of 1:48.36.

BG had champs in four other events, and it was the first time that the Bison took home the MSL championship.

Surdyka was fastest of all in the 200 individual medley (2:08.46) and the 100 breast stroke (1:06.20); Gagliano took first in the 100 fly in the time of 59.27; and the foursome of Ella Houston, Payton Menely, Frighetto and Surdyka won the 400 free relay.

"It's really special," said BG coach Michael McPartlin of the win. "We've got some seniors on the team (Surdyka and Frighetto) who have given us great leadership, and we also have some talented freshmen who have come in and seen a historic day."


"Lots of firsts for us this season. We've just been racing and swimming well and that means a lot."

Vera Conic from Rolling Meadows, a freshman standout, won the 100 backstroke (56.76), and was runner-up in the 200 IM.

Annabel Banicz of Schaumburg had a second-place finish in the 100 fly at 1:01.81, while Palatine's top performer was Yugene Shin, second in the 100 back with a 58.72.

"She is very determined," Pirates coach Samuel Truppa said of Shin, a junior. "She's set on making the state cut this year, and she just elevates everyone around her with her skill."

Que Genet of Fremd won the diving competition with a score of 447.90, while senior Jenna Kerr of Barrington had an exemplary meet.

Kerr won the grueling 500 free in the time of 4:54.52, then two minutes later helped her 200 free relay team (including Estella Brockway, Calleigh Edstrom and Lauren Holman) triumph in the 200 free relay.

Both Kerr's wins were pool and MSL meet records, and Truppa said that "we may need a record book" after all the outstanding swims Saturday.

Kerr, a senior, said it was difficult transitioning from the 500 immediately to a new event, but added that she has been training specifically for the MSL title races.

"The 200 is just a sprint," she said, "fifty yards for me so I just go all out with whatever I have left. My heart definitely beats fast, my chest is tight, but you've just got to progress through it."

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