The state finals aren’t for a couple of months but the Barrington girls swimming and diving team is picking up right where it left off.
That was evident Saturday afternoon when the Fillies won 10 out of 12 events to cruise to a repeat title in the Lake County Invitational hosted by Lake Forest.
“The Adrenalin and excitement are taken up a notch at every invitational and there’s always the pride of wanting to do well in every meet,” said second-year Barrington coach Alex Mikolajewski, whose girls finished 10th at the state meet last November and accumulated 368 points on Saturday to outdistance runner-up Vernon Hills (236.50.)
“We want them tired and sore after today. We’re working hard on the small racing techniques.”
Freshman Emily Bucaro is just one name you’ll hear a lot in the next three years. She won the 200 (1:54.56) and 100 freestyle (54.13).
“This is really cool being a freshman competing in a varsity meet,” said Bucaro. “We have a really good team and think this could be one of our best years. I felt pretty good with my results today.”
Bucaro also won county titles when she paired with Julie Vega, Alyssa Schwengel, and Allison Penrod to win the 200 free relay (1:39.60).
Bucaro finished her day by swimming the opening leg of the winning 400 freestyle relay, where she joined forces with Grace Roper, Rebecca Galovich, and Lilian Reader to touch in 3:36.52.
Penrod had a terrific afternoon for the Fillies, winning the 50 freestyle (24.73) and 100 breaststroke (1:06.37) and also swam anchor when she teamed with Emma Pritchett, Catherine Kitzman, and Reader to touch in 1:49.02.
Reader also picked up a county title winning the 200 IM in 2:09.63, while sisters Maggie (5:05.67) and Ellie (5:08.08) Graves took care of business finishing 1-2 in the 500 freestyle.
Vernon Hills and first-year coach AJ Block are bringing plenty of excitement to the pool this fall. The Cougars won their first sectional a year ago and finished a strong second Saturday, despite being without all-stater Drew Petereit, who was on college visits.
“Kedric (Greenawalt) did a great job building the program and we’re just looking to take things to the next level,” said Block, whose girls defeated Stevenson in dual action for the first time earlier in the week.
“We have a lot of talent that we’re trying to harness and train properly. The beauty is these girls love to race each other all of the time in practice, which helps when we compete in meets.”
The Cougars had a county champion after Allison Landis won the diving earlier in the day. She tallied 389.15 points to edge out Barrington’s Anna Mae King (354.05).
Meanwhile, the 200 medley of Claudia Yoon, Emma Zhang, Alexsandra Skatchkov, and Ellie Long picked up a second-place medal after touching in 1:51.06. Skatchkov was also second in the 200 IM (2:12.65), Zhang second in the 100 butterfly (58.78), and Yoon was second in the 100 backstroke (59.93).
Despite being without leader and all-stater Ashley Carollo, who was on college visits this month and rejoins the team in October, Stevenson still had a solid meet finishing third with 219.50 points.
“I was pleased how we grinded through the meet,” said Patriots coach Kevin Zakrewski. “This is the hardest week of training for us. We weren’t as consistent but the girls are still swimming well and forming their own identity.”
Maddie O’Donnell is one who has stepped up big-time.
“Without Ashley, Maddie has been standing out and demonstrating she wants to be recognized as a top swimmer, Zakrewski said.”
On Saturday, O’Donnell took home second-place hardware in the 100 freestyle after touching in 54.37. She was also on the second-place 200 freestyle relay, where she paired with Claudia Rzeznik, Jessica Nyborg, and Abigail Li to finish in a time of 1:41.22. O’Donnell then swan the first leg of the second-place 400 free relay, where she teamed with Rzeznik, Lucy Stevens and Jennifer Xiong to touch in 3:40.32.
Warren turned in a solid fourth-place effort after amassing 166 points.
The Blue Devils had a county champion when all-stater Carissa Barker took the title in the 100 backstroke in a personal best 58.50.
“We’re a little tired and sore but we are constantly continuing to push, work on our races, and hopefully drop some times,” said Devils coach Chris Bertana, whose team will try to repeat as champs at the Hersey Jamboree next weekend.
“Our three goals for every meet are have some fun, stay classy, and do the best we can.”
Barker, Maia Russell, Anni Stingle, and Alyssa Church are Warren’s top swimmers and it showed after the quartet took third in the 200 medley relay (1:51.20). Barker also took third in the 50 freestyle (25.08), while Church was third in the 100 freestyle (54.39) and freshman Hailey Benoit was third in the 100 backstroke (1:00.20).
Libertyville, which finished fifth (136), had a county champion after junior returning all-stater Emma Gleason repeated as county champ in the 100 butterfly, where she touched in a personal best time of 56.18.
“I felt great in the water today. A lot of power,” said Gleason, who swam a 57.7 to win county last year.
“I’ve really been hitting the weights and doing things like squats to get my legs stronger.”
Gleason also finished second in the 200 freestyle (1:54.95) and swam the third leg of the third-place 200 medley relay, where she paired with Anna Heard, Alex Eastmond, and Paige Rankin to finish in 1:52.68.
Host Lake Forest was sixth with 104 points.
The Scouts’ Kendra Joachim was fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:24.29) and later swam anchor on the fifth place 400 freestyle relay, where she teamed with Ashley Updike, Isabella Lewin, and Claire Carden to touch in 3:51.22.