Girls swimming: Amendola leads York to team title at Elk Grove sectional
Schaumburg sophomore Zuzanna Krasnicki said that her teammates always have her back.
She proved Saturday at the Elk Grove girls swimming sectional how important that can be.
Krasnicki won the 50 free and the 100 free to advance to the state tournament next weekend at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont, and the soph said that she owes it all to the support of her fellow swimmers.
"I feel like I've had a really rough season (up to this point)," Krasnicki said. "These last three months I've kind of been in a plateau -- haven't been able to drop (times). That's why the end result today is really nice to see.
"My teammates were always there for me, pushing me, telling me everything was going to be OK. They told me to just keep working hard for sectionals, because that's where it really matters."
"I'm so glad I listened to them because they helped me succeed here today. They kept telling me 'you got this.' I got my times up in practice this week, and built up my confidence for today."
It turned out to be a stellar day for Krasnicki and the Saxons, and also for York.
The Dukes won the team race at the Elk Grove pool with 296 points, and they were led by sophomore Sophia Amendola.
Amendola was part of two first place relay teams, and was victorious as well in the 100 fly in the time of 58:31.
"I was really happy with the way I swam the race," said Amendola of her effort in the 100 fly. "I had to come from behind, really I have to do that in all of my races. But it was close throughout."
"Our team has been great," added the sophomore. "We have seven retuning members from our sectional team last year, two wonderful captains in Brooke Woolfe and Rose Jensen, and two freshmen who have been a nice complement."
Dukes coach Megan Jensen said that it's the extraordinary work effort of Amendola that leads to her success.
"When she sets her mind to something," said the coach, "you have no doubt that she's going to accomplish it."
Woolfe, Jensen, Amendola and Natalie Tuerk won the 200 medley relay, and the foursome of Amendola, Woolfe, Turek and AnnMarie Czerwinski were also fastest of all in the 400 free relay.
Both the relay teams and Amendola in the 100 fly advance to state, as will freshman Chloe Drewry of Lake Park, who won the 100 breaststroke at 1:10.15.
Chloe's twin sister, Lily, was just behind in second.
"She just out touched out her sister for the win," said LP coach Dan Witteveen, who is retiring this season after 28 years at the helm. "They have a friendly rivalry, and they'll always hug each other after every race. They're great girls, great teammates, and the heart of our team as far as emotions."
The Lancers 200 free relay team of Izabella Turczynska, Una Dizdarevic, Maja Staniszewski, and Veronica Krenska will also move on to Westmont, taking first in the time of 1:39.35.
"They're a great group," said Witteveen. "Three freshmen and a sophomore, they'll get some great experience downstate this year. In a year or two they could come away with a medal."
Lake Park was second in the team race at 216, while Schaumburg finished 3rd at 198.
Rolling Meadows excelled at the meet as well.
The Mustangs went 1-2 in the diving event, with senior Caitlin Widowski winning with a score of 444.25. Classmate Brooklyn Hextall was just behind in runner-up position with a 443.15.
Vera Conic of Meadows, a freshman, qualified by winning the 200 individual medley (2:08.88), and the 100 back (56:84.)
"That was definitely a nail biter in the IM," said Mustangs coach Monika Chiappetta of Conic's win by just one tenth of a second.
"She knew she was going to have to fight today," added Chiappetta, "and she fought. She is so humble and such an incredible kid. She's letting everyone else have their moment, then Monday it will be about her. Vera has high expectations for herself and today was the launching pad for her. She's not done yet."