Rosary sophomore Annie Gosselin qualified for two individual events and the 200 freestyle relay at Friday’s IHSA girls swimming and diving state preliminaries at New Trier. Last season, she placed ninth in the 100 backstroke, as perennial contender Rosary slipped to a tie for 34th place. Refocused and re-energized with a young but deep team, the Beads descended on Winnetka with renewed trophy aspirations. Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley addressed the team’s morale with Gosselin as part of the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat. The following is an edited transcript:
How has the team mentally approached improving from last season?
So far this year, we’ve had a lot better year than last year. … Last year, the majority of the team tapered for sectionals, but this year, the majority tapered for state. So I think that will make a huge difference right there. This year we have a lot more qualifiers for state, you know. Someone qualified for every event except for the 500 (freestyle), [diving] and then our 400 free relay didn’t make it, which was kind of disappointing. But our sectional meet was awesome. I guess that was the only blemish you could say we had to it.
Thinking back to a year ago, is the excitement level a night and day difference?
It’s more for me, at least. Last year, I was a freshman, so I didn’t really know what to expect. The year before that, when I was an eighth-grader, I went to watch state, but watching and then competing is so different from each other. Going into state this year kind of knowing what to expect with the experience, that just gets me even more excited.
What do you remember about the vantage point from the New Trier stands as an eighth-grader?
I remember it being really crowded in the stands when I went. There was a lot of people on deck. … It’s like a smaller pool, but I don’t know, I kind of like it, how it’s a little bit smaller. Because you can really feel the energy in there, you know.
It’s a short drive from Rosary to [the Regole Natatorium at Marmion]. Does the team carpool together?
Yeah, usually whoever can drive, we’ll drive with them. I’m driving with Kate Canfield, one of our captains, and so I’ve been doing with her all year. And then Erin [Hart] drives a few people and Elaina [Ricci] and everyone that’s able to drive will drive. So yeah, we all help out.
Does a taper workout feel dramatically different?
I don’t feel that different. I guess in the water, I’m not as tired. My body doesn’t hurt as much. In-season, being sore is a normal feeling, I guess you could say, but now I’m not sore. I’m ready to go.