It turned out to be a truly grand opening for Buffalo Grove's girls swimming team.
To begin the Mid-Suburban League's series of dual meets, the Bison hosted Hoffman Estates in their new pool Thursday.
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Anyone visiting the impressive structure will have a hard time believing it occupies much of the same space as the previous pool, the Aquadome.
The differences between old and new are many -- the new pool features a separate diving well, eight lanes, extra water outside lanes 1 and 8, wave-absorbing gutters, state-of-the-art blocks capable of allowing the new track-style starts and even plenty of natural light to accompany vastly improved elevated spectator seating.
Following a beautifully performed anthem by Buffalo Grove senior Lizzy Petitt, the Bison and Hawks christened the facility with a brand new set of meet records.
That's right -- the pool records are starting over from scratch.
Things went off without a hitch as Buffalo Grove won the varsity meet 120-62. In a larger sense, anyone who cares about swimming, diving, and water polo can share in the victory of having a great new facility in the neighborhood.
"We worked really hard to get everything ready," said Buffalo Grove coach Tom Mroz, "and so far, so good."
Senior Sarah Morosan was a difference-maker for Buffalo Grove. The returning state qualifier won the 50 free (25.30), the 100 free (55.67) and had legs on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Other Bison winners included Alexa Jedryka (200 free), Dasha Yermol (500 free), Payton Perkson (200 IM) and Brina Wahout (100 fly).
Hoffman Estates' winners included Casey Rawlings (100 breast), Francia Morales-Diaz (100 back) and Nathalie Castro (diving).
Hawks coach Chris Fetterman also showcased a quality medley relay of Becca Fuscone, Rawlings, Renata Widelak and Megan Bonney. They finished in 2:10.69 and would have won easily if not for a DQ.
Any case of pool envy for Hoffman Estates was tempered by the knowledge that its time will soon come. Pool renovations in District 211 are now under way; Conant's is under construction right now to start the five-pool commitment, and work at Hoffman Estates could start at soon as January.
Buffalo Grove assistant coach Natalie Rasor, who is Prospect's girls water polo head coach, sees an immediate difference in how the dramatic increase in pool space is affecting the Bison this fall.
"It allows us to really break down into smaller groups, based on ability and strokes, and really target specific things a little bit better," she said. "There's no question, it's going to help this team."
Palatine d. Elk Grove: Junior Lily Zahn and sophomore Katelyn Kurrie each won two individual events to help pace the Pirates in a 101-65 home-opening victory.
Zahn won the 200-meter free (2:19.20) and 100 fly (1:08.70), Kurrie won the 400 free (5:07.19) and 100 back (1:17.12). Other Pirates winners included freshman Ellis Nelson in the 200 IM (2:36.64), junior Kristin Anderson in the 100 free (1:01.30) and diver Andrea Ori (206.20).
Elk Grove's Madison Schumacher won the 100 breast (1:36.80), and the Grens wrapped up with a win in the 400 free relay (4:54.88).
Hersey d. Schaumburg: Jenny Lutz and Olivia Kusio each won a pair of races and visiting Hersey swept the relays in a 132-53 decision.
Kusio, a freshman, was tops in the 200 IM (2:34.99) and 100 breast (1:20.52) while Lutz won the 100 fly (1:13.90) and 100 back (1:15.75).
The Saxons got a pair of wins from Ingrid Hay, in the 50 free (30.46) and the 100 free (1:06.26).
Fremd d. Wheeling: The host Vikings got their MSL slate started with a 108-64 victory.
Wheeling's Theresa Godlewski had the top finish in the 50-meter free (27.59), but Fremd's quality depth was too much as wins came from Julie Portmann in the 200 free (2:17.45), Jaimin Huang in the 200 IM (2:45.39), Sydney Plichta in diving (209.85), Saki Takumiya in the 100 fly (1:07.51), Grace Kneller in the 100 free (1:00.43) and Emily Bolger in the 400 free (4:54.73).
Barrington d. Prospect: The Fillies made an impressive showing against the defending MSL East champs in a 123-62 victory.
Barrington freshmen Maggie Emary and Maggie Menso were both double winners individually, Emary in the 200 IM (2:16.67) and 100 back (1:02.03) and Menso in the 200 free (2:01.03) and 500 free (5:15.81).
Junior standout Kirsten Jacobsen won the 50 free (25.46) and Emma Barnett won the 100 free (555.18) for Barrington, while Prospect got wins from diver Dana Liva (235.85) and from Rachel Rozow in the 100 breast (1:12.45).
Conant d. Rolling Meadows: Leah Cejvan (200 IM, 100 breast), Samantha Wooley (100 free, 100 back) and Allison Cicero (200 IM, 100 fly) both won twice to help the visiting Cougars edge the Mustangs 96-89.
Rolling Meadows had the top 200 medley relay of Teresa Perille, Erin Pletch, Bailey Rowley and Olivia Hepko, and Hepko also won the 50 free (26.86).