Waubonsie Valley's Mathew energizes sectional with record swims

  • Rosary's Alexis Yager swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday placing 1st with a finishing time of 2:05.06.

      Rosary's Alexis Yager swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday placing 1st with a finishing time of 2:05.06. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Jennifer Oliver swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday finishing the race with time of 2:10.60.

      Naperville Central's Jennifer Oliver swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday finishing the race with time of 2:10.60. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Neuqua Valley's Peyton Griffith swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday finishing with at time of 2:17.11.

      Neuqua Valley's Peyton Griffith swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday finishing with at time of 2:17.11. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Rachel Heiss swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday finishing with at time of 2:29.85

      West Aurora's Rachel Heiss swims in the 200 Yard IM during Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional Saturday finishing with at time of 2:29.85 Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
By Neil Shalin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/14/2015 9:14 PM

Waubonsie Valley's Avery Mathew had to admit that she surprised herself a little with her outstanding performance at Saturday's Neuqua Valley girls swimming sectional.

The Warriors senior won the 50 freestyle in a pool record-breaking time and anchored the 200 medley relay, which also broke the pool record.

 

She was also a member of the winning 400 freestyle relay team and the 200 freestyle relay that finished second.

Mathew and her teammates finished third in the team standings in a meet that was won by Rosary. The Beads are one of the favorites to win the title at next week's state meet at New Trier.

Mathew swam the 50 free in 23.38

"My time surprised me, but today I was feeding off the energy of everyone on our team," said Mathew, who was a multiple state qualifier in both her sophomore and junior seasons. "I'm hoping I have a shot at the championship next week. Last year I was seeded sixth and I didn't make it to the finals and that was upsetting. I kept remembering that all this year when things got tough."

One person who wasn't surprised by Mathew's performance was Waubonsie Valley coach Katie Peterson.

"I knew she could go as fast as she did," Peterson said. "Last year she did a 24.3 in the 50, but I knew she had a 23 in her. Avery is really a great leader. She's dedicated to both pumping her teammates up and calming them down to make sure that everyone goes out and does what she knows they can do."

The meet got off to an auspicious start for the Warriors when Mathew, Hannah Hunt and freshmen Keili Holt and Lily Hunt won the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:45.33, just ahead of Rosary.

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Later Hannah Hunt swam a 1:02.36 to win the sectional championship in the 100 breaststroke.

"It was a thrill to win the breaststroke and the medley relay," Hunt said. "We have grown a great deal as a team this year. It makes us so excited for next weekend. It was also great because I got to swim on the medley relay team with my sister."

Lily Hunt and Mathew combined with Paige Simpson and Emma Tinney to win the 400 free relay in 3:29.42, again edging Rosary to cap off the day with a victory.

The Beads, who scored 271 points to win the sectional, were the winners of the 200 freestyle relay with freshmen Athena Ye and Kathryn Mueller, along with Alexis Yager and Emily Ryan finishing ahead of Waubonsie Valley in a pool record-setting 1:35.31.

Oswego East finished in second place in the team standings with 190 points, followed by Waubonsie Valley with 164, host Nequa Valley scored 149, while Naperville North and Naperville Central were tied at 133.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Plainfield Central was seventh with 114, West Chicago/Batavia co-op registered 92 and Metea Valley 83.5.

Yager, a junior, who won the 200 IM at state last year, fought off the competition with a 2:05.06 to gain the sectional title in that race.

The Beads' Ye won the 100 backstroke in 56.06.

In addition to qualifying all three relays for state, Rosary had two swimmers qualify in every race.

"Our goal was to have 100 percent qualifiers for state and we did that," Yager said. "It's the first time a Rosary team has accomplished that. We're really excited about going into state as the favorite, and I think we can do it."

"We're really happy with today's results," said Rosary coach Bill Schalz. "Most of the kids swam their best times."

The Beads won four state titles in a row between 2006 and 2009.

Naperville Central came away with two individual sectional wins as Audrey Coffey won the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:59.38 and Sydney Dusel set a pool record with 499.80 in the diving. Neuqua Valley's Lauren Beyer finished second with 463.70 points which also eclipsed the mark set by Dusel in 2013.

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