On Fremd's senior night, the girls swimming and diving team was making plenty of noise for senior Alexis Smith as she prepared for the final dive of the meet -- also the final dive of her season in Fremd's pool.
Smith nailed it, sending up a spray of happy cheers from the home team's fans.
That kind of emotional edge was evident the whole evening Thursday in Palatine as the Vikings delivered an impressive 110-73 victory over Barrington in a meeting of the top two teams in the Mid-Suburban League.
The outcome clinches a second straight Mid-Suburban West title for the Vikings, who won all five of their divisional meets.
"It's bittersweet," said Smith, who placed fourth in her event with a score of 170.00. "This is a great team, and senior night means, you know, the season's almost over. You want it to keep going."
Barrington, meanwhile, wasn't exactly having the kind of meet it had hoped for, and the symptoms started early.
"When I was getting up this morning to go work out," said Fillies coach Jim Bart, "I went to throw my bag over my shoulder, and the strap broke. The whole day was kind of like that for us."
Fremd took command early, winning the 200-meter medley relay, finishing 2-3 in the 200 free with Erica King and Julia Portmann behind Barrington sophomore Kirsten Jacobsen, and then going 1-2 in the 200 IM with Saki Takumiya and Grace Grzybek.
Barrington senior Mekenna Scheitlin won the 50 free, but Fremd's Loretta Stelnicki and Grace Kneller were able to finish 2-3.
In diving, Sydney Plichta and Sarah McTague went 1-2 as Fremd continued to pull away.
Following a ceremony honoring Fremd's six seniors -- Sam DiCanio, Sam Barry, Jillian Marsden, Nikki Jackson, Nina Freund and Smith -- things only got tougher for Barrington.
Fremd's Christine Osborn won the 100 fly, and Kneller and Stelnicki went 1-2 in the 100 free.
"This is the kind of atmosphere you want in a meet with your rival," said Fremd coach Andrew Kittrell. "This was fun -- this was special."
After Jacobsen won the 400 free (4:29.12), Fremd bounced right back with a 200 free relay win from Kneller, Osborn, King and Stelnicki before Takumiya and Grzybek went 1-3 in the 100 back.
The Vikings needed that, because Barrington finished strong in the 100 breaststroke, with a 1-2 finish from Andrea Vega and Olivia Hoffman, and another win in the 400 free relay with Scheitlin, Emma Barnett, Vega and Jacobsen. But the damage had been done earlier.
"They were better prepared than us, it really just comes down to that," Bart said. "The last 10 yards, we were losing races."
The good news for Barrington is that it will have two more chances to compete against Fremd. The Fillies will host the varsity conference meet along with the sectional.
On another level, Thursday's outcome was a simple and pure victory for Fremd.
"Our coaches tell us that when it comes to meets," said Freund, "we should try our hardest, and have a lot of fun. I think we all did that."
Palatine d. Schaumburg: The Pirates finished with a 3-2 record in the MSL West after topping the host Saxons 97-89.
Individual winners for Palatine included Amy Zahn (50 free), Lily Zahn (100 fly), Tess O'Brien (100 free) and Laura Mayer (100 back).
For Schaumburg, Abigail Langlotz won the 200 free and 400 free, Becca Birriel won the 200 IM, Caiti Poland won diving and Sydney Skibinski won the 100 breast.
Conant d. Hoffman Estates: Allison Cicero won the 200-meter IM and 400 free and had legs on two winning relays, and divers Katie Kopp, Lexi Correa and Bailey Hornstein provided a 1-2-3 finish to help the host Cougars in a 107-59 victory.
Winners for Hoffman Estates included Sarah Miles (100 fly, 100 back) and Jessica Sullivan (50 free).