Wheeling's Theresa Godlewski had a breakthrough season last year as a sophomore, earning her first trip to the girls swimming state meet in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
It's beginning to look like she was just getting warmed up for what's to come.
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Godlewski delivered personal best times in winning both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 backstroke in Saturday's Mid-Suburban League championship meet at Barrington.
The backstroke, which she won in a conference meet record 57.73, is her best event. But her time and place in the 50 free (24.31) surprised even herself.
"I thought I'd have a good chance to win the backstroke, but honestly, the 50 was a total surprise," she said. "I'm starting to think maybe I should swim the 50 free (instead of the 100 free) at sectional. I guess we have some decisions to make."
Wheeling coach Lisa Poynor isn't surprised to see Godlewski continuing to take quantum leaps forward.
"She's super focused every day in practice," Poynor said. "This is the result of all that, and I'd say we're right on track for a nice state meet taper."
Two more meet records were broken, both by Barrington's super sophomore Kirsten Jacobsen. She cruised to victories in the 200 free (1:51.35) and 500 free (4:56.94).
Even that wasn't enough to stop Fremd from repeating as league champs. The Vikings finished with 299 points, ahead of runner-up Barrington (264). Palatine had its best finish in recent years with third place at 154, followed by Prospect (143), Conant (115) and Hersey (94).
The Vikings won the medley and 200 free relays, had individual winners in Saki Takumiya (200 IM) and Christine Osborn (100 fly) and generally had the kind of consistently strong day it takes to beat a team like Barrington.
Fremd coach Andrew Kittrell was pleased with the growth of his team, which will be focused on getting a boatload of state qualifiers in two weeks at the sectional meet to be hosted by Barrington.
Especially gratifying was the victory by Osborn, who missed much of the early season while battling illness, and the performance of Julia Portmann, who was battling some soreness but delivered top-six finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyles.
"I thought we had just the kind of day we needed to have," Kittrell said. "This year was harder than last, I think, because we had such a senior-dominated team last season. With this year's team, we needed to have that group take the next step up, and I think they did that."
The Vikings placed both their entries in the top six of each individual race except the 100 breast, where Shae Taylor and Samantha Barry were sixth and seventh. Key efforts came from Erica King (2nd in 200 and 500 free), Grace Kneller (2nd 100 free, 4th 50 free), Loretta Stelnicki (3rd 50 and 100 free), and Grace Grzybek (3rd 100 back, 4th 200 IM) and Takumiya in the backstroke (2nd).
Barrington senior Mekenna Scheitlin won the 100 free in 53.39, junior Andrea Vega won the 100 breast in 1:08.50 and the Fillies finished the meet with a strong 400 free relay, winning easily in 3:36.26. Emma Barnett was third in the 200 free and fifth in the 200 back, Emma Toth took fourth in the 500 free, Olivia Hoffman was fourth in the 100 fly and fifth in the 100 breast and Kelsey Holmes was sixth in the 100 back.
"We swam OK," quipped Barrington coach Jim Bart. "Just not OK enough, I guess."
Palatine, meanwhile, was more than OK with a third-place team finish. The Pirates didn't win a race but took third in both freestyle relays and had plenty of top-six finishers.
"It was a little rocky for us at the start," said Pirates coach Brittany Berleman. "But after we relaxed and started to have fun, it really turned around for us."
Top Pirates placements included Amy Zahn in the 100 fly (2nd), Kristin Anderson in the 100 free (4th) and 50 free (5th), Laura Mayer in the 100 fly (5th) and Lily Zahn in the 100 free (6th).
Most of the league's teams had top-six finishers, including:
• Buffalo Grove's Sarah Morosan (5th in 100 free).
• Conant's Allison Cicero (3rd in 200 IM and 500 free), Lea Cejvan (3rd in 100 breast, 6th in 200 IM) and Paulina Wolska (6th in 200 free).
• Elk Grove Simona Kurta (3rd in 100 fly, 5th in 200 IM).
• Hoffman Estates' Sarah Miles (6th in 100 fly).
• Prospect's Betsy Rozow (4th in 100 back, 6th in 50 free) and Rachel Rozow (4th in 100 breast).
• Schaumburg's Sydney Skibinski (2nd in 100 breast), Abigail Langlotz (5th in 200 free, 6th in 500 free).