It's a good thing Monika Chiappetta and Dave Toler are good sports.
The coaches of the Rolling Meadows and Elk Grove girls swimming teams pretty much have to be, or they might have some problems.
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You see, since Rolling Meadows doesn't have its own pool, the coaches and teams share the facility at Elk Grove. That could be a point of contention among lesser folks. Instead, it's more like a point of unity between the programs.
Case in point: Thursday's Mid-Suburban League dual, which on a practical level was a home meet for both groups.
In a closely contested meet, Chiappetta couldn't quite contain herself before a race in which Elk Grove senior Angelica Ford was competing.
"I absolutely love the Elk Grove kids. I'm cheering for my girls, 'Go Meadows!' " she said, before lowering her voice and murmuring a secondary cheer: "And go Angelica!"
Beyond actively pulling for one another, the teams also share similar identities as improving programs with better participation and top-end varsity swimmers. Rolling Meadows got the better of the action Thursday, emerging with a 105-80 victory over an Elk Grove team not quite at full strength.
Elk Grove had a decisive edge in event winners, but Rolling Meadows got a 1-2 finish in the 200 free relay, and a 1-2-3 diving sweep from Amanda Ciezak, Ema Kolb and Genna McHugh.
Meadows' only individual racing victories came from Neeka Szacilo in the 200 free and from senior captain Meaghan O'Brien, who prevailed in a great duel with Elk Grove freshman Nikki Sugihara in the 100 breaststroke.
Elk Grove got double wins from Ford (200 IM, 100 back) and Simona Kurta (50 free, 100 fly), and the Grens also had winners in Sugihara (100 free), Jackie Hirschauer (500 free).
But the Elk Grove lineup was a little out of kilter as Kurta battles an illness. That forced Toler to slot Hirschauer into the 500 free, which turned out to a bright spot for the Grens.
"I thought Jackie did a great job for us," Toler said. "That's not one of her normal races, but she really came through nicely."
For both teams, this particular meet is an occasion for camaraderie across all levels. And the cheering was as loud for the JV races as for the varsity.
But neither team interrupted its normal training regimen in preparation for the meet, and some of Chiappetta's swimmers were concerned that they'd been pushed too hard in practice the previous day. Then, when the meet actually started, the familiarity of the opponent might have had a kind of chilling effect.
"It was really quiet," Chiappetta said. "I had to get Meaghan O'Brien to get my team to start cheering. I'm like, 'This isn't a wake, it's a swim meet.' "
After the meet, it was more like a party, as swimmers from both teams gathered to pose in photos together.
"Outside of high school season, a lot of these girls have been on the same teams," Toler said. "We like it that they can get along and support one another."
Buffalo Grove d. Wheeling: Senior Veronika Jedryka broke the pool record in the 200-yard freestyle that had been set by Hersey's Amanda Petro, winning in 1:57.23 as the host Bison earned a 106-75 victory in MSL East competition.
Jedryka also won the 100 back (1:00.06) in a tight race with Wheeling sophomore Theresa Godlewski, who earlier claimed victory in the 50 free (25.41).
Winners for BG included Margaret Lotzer (500 free), Callie Fasching (100 free and 200 IM) and Amber Malzahn (diving).
Wheeling's Rachel Ropski was the top finisher in the 100 breaststroke. The Wildcats won the 200 medley and 200 free relays after BG's top foursome was disqualified in both races.