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St. Charles East girls swimming prevails at home sectional

St. Charles East girls swimmers celebrate their sectional title on Saturday at East.
St. Charles East girls swimmers celebrate their sectional title on Saturday at East.

ST. CHARLES – Pool records were endangered species at Saturday’s St. Charles East Sectional meet.

Four records were established at the Norris Center pool – two by the meet-winning Saints and two by team runner-up St. Charles North.

The record-breaking performances began right away, with North junior Abby Ponte scoring 423.30 in the 1-meter diving competition, eclipsing the previous mark of 386.70 set in 2000 by East’s Andrea Johnson. As a sectional champion, Ponte qualified for next weekend’s state meet at New Trier High School.

Another 13-year-old record fell in the second swimming event of the afternoon, the 200-yard freestyle. East senior Stephanie Garvin won the race in 1:51.06, more than a second faster than the 1:52.32 time set by the Saints’ Laura Lipskis in 2000, when it was still just St. Charles High.

“I really was not expecting it at all,” Garvin said. “I just really wanted to go get the state cut and maybe drop some time. … I couldn’t have done it without coach Joe [Cabel] and my other teammates because they really helped me this whole season.”

Also helping by pushing Garvin in the race was North Star sophomore Monica Guyett, whose second-place time of 1:52.82 was good enough to qualify her for state.

“I felt good,” Guyett said. “I just wanted to qualify for state and make sure I had a good seed time for state. I think I did pretty good on that.”

Third-place finisher Izzie Bindseil of East also qualified for state with a time of 1:53.76.

Garvin, Guyett, and Bindseil also finished 1-2-3 in the 500-yard freestyle, with all again finishing under the state-qualifying standard. Garvin won the event in 5:00.78.

“I thought it was another good race that I was not expecting, either,” Garvin said. “I’ve been really nervous this whole week about it and everyone’s been helping me get pumped up. I was just really excited to swim and that’s probably the main factor that race.”

Garvin and Bindseil teamed up with Jordan Morling and Kate Nagler to take first in the 400-yard relay, coming from behind to edge North.

Morling captured the 100-yard backstroke in 56.86 seconds.

Guyett swam the anchor leg for North’s winning 200-yard freestyle relay team, which set a new pool record of 1:37.11. Loriel Hutchinson, Samantha Sauer, and Grace Samuelson were the other members of the relay team, which broke a mark established in 1999 by St. Charles by nearly half a second.

“We had a lot of strong swims today and I think that was one of them,” Guyett said. “I’m really glad we beat the pool record.”

The other pool record came in the 200-yard medley relay as the East quartet of Morling, Shea Hoyt, Isabel Herb, and Nagler won with a clocking of 1:46.54, more than two seconds faster than the previous record, set in 2003.

“That was really fun,” Hoyt said. “I love the medley relay. It’s just like a boost of energy right at the start of the meet. It was just really fun to get it all started there.”

Hoyt won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:04.78, more than a second ahead of DeKalb’s Jensen Keck.

Herb was another individual champion for the Saints, winning the 200 individual medley in 2:07.33. She used a great breaststroke to pass her teammate, Morling, then finished with a strong freestyle stroke over the final 50 yards.

“I wasn’t expecting to win,” Herb said. “It was crazy. It was probably one of my favorite moments – one of my best races by far that I’ve ever done in my life.”

Morling’s second-place time of 2:08.72 also was below the state-qualifying benchmark.

East freshman Anna O’Malley took second in the 100-yard butterfly in 57.56 seconds to qualify for state.

“I’m very happy with it,” O’Malley said. “The last few weeks we all have been working really hard and I guess it’s paying off.”

It paid off with a sectional title, the fourth straight for the Saints, who tallied 319 points, 50.5 more than second-place North.

Burlington Central junior Ashley Stark was fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.46 seconds, good enough to send her to state.

“This is my first time, so it’s super exciting,” Stark said. “[The race] just went by so fast, there was very little time to think about it. … I told myself beforehand it was going to be good. No matter what, it was going to be good.”

Neuqua Valley Sectional: At Naperville, Rosary tallied 179 team points to tie for second behind champion Naperville Central while producing 14 qualifiers to next week's state meet.

The Beads' highlights included second-place finishes from Erin Hart (23.87 in 50-yard freestyle) and Alexis Yager (2:07.13 in 200 individual medley). Rosary's 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays are part of its state contingent.

St. Francis also competed but did not have any state qualifiers.

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