Swimmers compete all season with the state-qualifying standard etched in their brains. At the end of her 100-yard breaststroke race at Saturday's St. Charles North Sectional, Schaumburg's Sydney Skibinski's time reminded everyone just what that state cut was.
Skibinski, a junior, finished fourth and swam 1:08.22, exactly the time set by the IHSA for qualification for next week's state meet in Evanston.
"I've been hoping for state my freshman and sophomore years and it finally happened," Skibinski said. "I've been imagining the time. I never thought I would get exactly the time."
Skibinski swam 31.41 in the opening 50 yards and was in third place and firmly en route to qualification. She then swam 36.81 to barely earn her spot in Friday's state prelims.
"The last 50 and the last turn, I wasn't sure," Skibinski said. "But the last 25, I just gave it everything."
Skibinski knew her finish would be close to the state cut. Then she looked up and saw her time equaled that time standard.
"I wish I could have gone under the cut," Skibinski said. "But I couldn't be happier."
Skibinski celebrated with her teammates, then posed for photos from family members after receiving her medal and began to make plans for attending her first state meet.
"I want to go under 1:08," she said. "I think I can do it. I'm on a two-week taper."
At York: Conant sophomore Allison Cicero earned a state meet appearance, winning the 500 free in 5:08.00 and placing third in the 200 free (1:55.49) in Elmhurst.
Elk Grove's Simona Kurta also advanced with a personal-best effort in the 100 butterfly (58.96).