Fremd sticks with it; Barrington's Jacobsen in fine form
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Fremd's performance in the girls swimming state meet preliminaries Friday at New Trier had an almost epic feel to it.
There was pain, heartbreak, perseverance and, ultimately, redemption.
The pain portion came during junior Saki Takumiya's 200-yard medley relay exchange. On the start of her butterfly leg, she dove too deeply and knocked her head along the bottom of the pool.
Left with a nasty welt but with no concussion symptoms, Takumiya's subsequent individual races, the 100 fly and 100 back, were still well off her best.
"It's been an interesting day," said Vikings coach Andrew Kittrell at the meet's mid-way point.
The heartbreak was mainly for Fremd junior Erica King, who produced a career-best time of 5:01.52 in the 500 free -- yet finished an unlucky 13th, one place away from scoring points.
Stop us if you've heard this one before, but the next Vikings race, the 200 free relay of Grace Kneller, Christy Osborn, King and Loretta Stelnicki finished 13th.
And, finally, in Fremd's final race of the day, the 400 free relay, perseverance and sweet redemption.
The Vikes dropped nearly two seconds from their sectional performance and finished 10th in 3:31.09 as King, Kneller, Takumiya and Stelnicki would not be denied.
They'll get another chance to race in the finals session, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at New Trier.
"It's so exciting," said King, a three-time state meet qualifier who advanced to the state meet's second day for the first time. "I'm glad our relay made it, because that means I get to share tomorrow with my teammates and all my friends."
Takumiya recovered enough to deliver a lifetime best 100 free split on the 400 relay by about a full second.
"There's no quit in my kids," said Kittrell. "There were plenty of times today when they could have mentally shut it down, but nobody did. I'm exceedingly proud of them."
Barrington will join Fremd in the consolation heat of the 400 relay as Mekenna Scheitlin, Andrea Vega, Emma Barnett and Kirsten Jacobsen finished 11th in 3:31.15.
Scheitlin, a senior, grabbed the 12th qualifying spot in the 50 free, finishing in 24.06.
Jacobsen, meanwhile, is lined up nicely for another banner day.
The sophomore had the second-best qualifying effort in the 200 free (1:48.86), and cruised to the top seed in the 500 free in 4:50.19. The defending state champ in the 500 free, Jacobsen's time was more than three seconds ahead of the next qualifier.
"She's looking really good," said Fillies coach Jim Bart. "In the 200, I think we can change some things up a little bit that might help."
Prospect junior Dana Liva positioned to bring back her best finish in her third straight year of state meet diving. She's third after eight dives at 299.65, about 12 points behind leader Sydney Dusel of Naperville Central with three dives remaining Saturday.
Wheeling junior Theresa Godlewski produced a lifetime best in the 100 backstroke (57.59) for a 15th-place finish.
Buffalo Grove's Sarah Morosan (50 free) and Palatine's Amy Zahn (100 fly) and Kristin Anderson (50 free, 100 free) didn't advance in their events. In Anderson's case, coach Brittany Berleman hopes the day served an important developmental purpose.
"It's crowded, it's tough to get a good warm-up in, the noise is crazy," Berleman said. "But I was telling Kristin, there's nothing like this anywhere else in swimming.
"You can swim in NCAAs one day, but it won't be the same. You'll never have an audience," she said, gesturing to the packed stands, "like this."
New Trier produced a big day in an effort to win its fourth straight team title. It figures to be close between the Trevians, Fenwick and Downers Grove North.
Fenwick's Mimi Schneider is the top qualifier in both the 50 free (22.66) and 100 fly (53.62).
Downers Grove North has all three relays in the finals, and Trojans senior Gabby Sims is the top 100 backstroke qualifier by almost two seconds (54.18).
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