EVANSTON – A lot can get lost amid the sea of people at the IHSA girls swimming and diving state meet.
As Evanston Township’s pool deck and stands were jammed with people and state powers New Trier, Fenwick and Glenbrook South were breaking state and national records, Tri-Cities area teams fared quite nicely during Friday’s preliminaries.
Despite only one area individual qualifying for today’s championship finals (St. Charles East’s Nicole Chapko in the 100-yard breaststroke), East, St. Charles North and Rosary still had plenty to cheer about.
The veteran Saints did the most damage with quality performances from Chapko, Mary Snyder and Izzie Bindseil.
Along with qualifying for the championship flight of the 100 breaststroke (sixth, 1:03.65), Chapko earned a date in the 200 IM consolations finals with a 2:05.67 that was good for 10th.
Fellow senior Snyder narrowly missed qualifying for the 200 freestyle championship. Snyder will have to settle for the consolation swim in the 200 freestyle along with the 100 freestyle. The Villanova-bound Snyder was pleased despite being shut out of championship heats.
“I was really loose for this meet and it was nice to know that I just got here,” Snyder said. “I felt really good. I can just go into tomorrow and swim fast like last week.”
Snyder, Chapko, Bindseil and Kimmie Scott also were part of the 400 freestyle relay that qualified for the consolation championship with a 3:32.22 and was good enough for 11th overall.
“We were up and down and we were all a little tenuous at the start,” East coach Joe Cabel said. “We’re pretty confident that we can go faster. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
St. Charles North featured a young squad across the board and didn’t fare quite as well as their crosstown rivals.
Freshman Monica Guyette provided a highlight for the North Stars after she won her heat in the 500 freestyle with a 5:01.39 – nearly seven seconds better than her sectional qualifying time. The blistering time was good enough for 10th and a spot in today’s consolation finals.
“From where we started the year to where we finished was awesome,” North coach Rob Rooney said. “This was a rebuilding year for us but we saw a lot of great things. We’re hoping that Monica can swim even faster tomorrow.”
Rosary didn’t fare much better than North. A year after taking the third-place state trophy, Beads coach Bill Schalz’s job was much tougher as he welcomed back a lineup filled with underclassmen.
Freshman Annie Gosselin paced the Beads with a 57.08 swim in the 100-yard backstroke. The effort was good enough a spot in today’s consolation championship heat.
Gosselin was somewhat unhappy with her performance despite the meet being her first state experience.
“I’m kind of disappointed with my swims, to be honest,” Gosselin said. “I was expecting to do a lot better, especially in the 200 IM. That was one of my goals all year was to make top-six. Overall, I’m happy with my first state meet. It’s a whole different experience. I guess I’m alright with it.”
Gosselin’s swam alongside Glenbrook South’s Olivia Smoliga in the 100 backstroke as the Georgia recruit set a national record with a 51.84, displacing the old mark by one tenth of a second.
The championship round of the meet will begin at 1 p.m. today.