Girls swimming: St. Charles North wins 4th straight sectional

It was hard to tell who was louder Saturday at the St. Charles East swimming sectional - the cheering St. Charles North parents wearing blue T-shirts or North Stars coach Rob Rooney with his piercing whistle and bright white and blue pants.

Both had plenty to make noise about. St. Charles North dominated the meet to earn its fourth sectional title in a row, scoring 301 points to second place West Chicago's 252.

The North Stars won seven of the 11 events and advanced all three relay teams and five swimmers to next week's state meet at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont. St. Charles North will compete in seven of the eight individual events.

"We have a good group that's going. The sectional meet always has a lot of ups and down. For most of the time we had a very good meet today," Rooney said. "This team has a lot of kids that are new to this environment. I'm proud of how they have done and handled the meet."

West Chicago, a co-op team with Geneva and Batavia, won three of the competitions and will send three relay teams and four individuals to Westmont.

"Not too bad, we'll take it," said West Chicago coach Nick Parry. "Our seniors really stepped up took ownership of the team."

Parry was named sectional swim coach of the year.

North's Izzy Beu earned a state berth by winning the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:02.64.

Beu likes the noisy atmosphere. "I hear it while I'm swimming and it is super motivating," she said.

The sophomore also set a new pool record of 55.25 to win the 100 butterfly.

"I wasn't initially aware I broke the record," Beu said. "I looked over and everyone was going crazy."

North Stars freshman Tess Stavropoulos advanced to the state meet by winning the 50 free (23.32). She will be joined by senior teammate Enya Linson, who won the 500 freestyle (5:03.71).

Jenna Williams edged out fellow North Star Nicole Burton by .06 seconds to win the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.85. Both swimmers qualified for the state meet.

North won the 200 medley (1:45.21) and 400 freestyle relays (3:28.86) and took second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:35.84).

West Chicago took top honors in the 200 freestyle relay (1:35.50) and finished second in the other two relays.

West Chicago's Amelia Murphy advanced to state by winning the 200 freestyle (1:52.39). Freshman teammate Claire Conklin won the 100 freestyle (51:45) to earn a state berth.

"It was a lot of adrenalin. I struggled a lot with all the sickness going around," said Murphy, a student at Geneva High School. "I was able to step up today. The support of all my friends and teammates also inspired me to keep going."

West Chicago's Audrey Lindstrom took second place in the 500 freestyle with a state qualifying time of 5:05.76. Teammate Sarah Michael's third place qualifying time (57.22) in the 100 backstroke also notched a berth in the state meet.

The two teams split first place in 10 of the 11 events. Dundee-Crown's Allison Fitzgerald prevented a sweep in the 100 breaststroke. Fitzgerald won the race and a state spot with a time of 1:06.38.

"I was focusing on my stroke count because that's what I have been working with for the whole week," Fitzgerald said about her win. "My teammates' support helped me too."

St. Charles East finished third with 213 points. Junior Payton Dorman qualified for state with third place qualifying times in the 50 freestyle (24.12) and the 100 freestyle (51.96).

Despite not having a large, noisy cheering section, Burlington Central's Hannah Johnson advanced to the state meet with a third-place qualifying time and personal best of 5:08.06 in the 500 freestyle. Johnson was one of six Burlington swimmers, but since the school does not a swim team, the girls swam as individuals.

"I pace myself throughout the race and try to stay competitive with the other swimmers around me," said the sophomore about her strategy for the grueling 20-lap race.

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