Girls swimming and diving: Blumenfeld's pool record sparks Hersey's win at Conant invite
Hersey diver Ally Blumenfeld added a few more demanding dives to her repertoire this season, in preparation for what she hopes will be a trip to the 2021 state finals.
"They have a higher degree of difficulty," said the senior, "and if I hit the dives (in meets) it makes it easier for me because I get more points. It does make it more challenging in practice -- but challenges are good."
Saturday at the Conant 2021 girls swimming invitational, Blumenfeld and her teammates were more than up to the challenge, winning the meet with 97 points, just ahead of rival Schaumburg (95).
Blumenfeld helped lead the way to the victory, winning the diving competition by posting a score of 452.80 and setting a pool record in the process.
"This season has been going really well for us," she said.
Blumenfeld, who added that she's happy that the meets and invites are back to a semblance of normalcy this season, gave some of the credit to her teammates for her strong performance.
"Last year, swimming and diving (events) were separate," said Blumenfeld. "This year, having the swimmers back, watching us when we dive, is a big help. It's motivating having them there, I can feel the support and it helps me dive better."
Huskies coach Dick Mortensen totally agrees with his star diver's assessment.
"You can feel the excitement," said Mortensen "with 70 girls (in the program) and their collective voice. We tend to get a lot of swimmers on the teams during Olympic years."
The Schaumburg relay team of Madison Dohrn, Nina Mollin, Annabel Banicz and Zuzanna Krasnicki won the 200 medley in the time of 1:50.15.
The same four Saxons swimmers won the 400 yard free relay, while Dohrn finished first in the 100 back at 56.89, a new pool record.
"It was great to be out here today racing against a bunch of different teams," said Dohrn. "So nice to have relays again, which we missed out on last year (due to COVID). Having the relays just makes the atmosphere at the pool so much better, so much louder and that always fires me up.
"Because of the invite today, I was really pumped up," added the senior of her record-setting backstroke time. "I didn't expect to go 56, but midway through the race I told myself 'this feels really good', and I just kept going."
Teammate Mollin also had a new pool record, winning the 100 fly in the time of 57.23.
For the victorious Huskies, senior Mollie Lumsden took the top spot in the 200 free (1:55.97).
"We're happy things are getting back to normal," said Lumsden. "I love Hersey swimming, and I'm looking to finish up my senior year strong. We're all excited that we have invitationals like this one back this year."
Krasnicki added victories for Schaumburg in the 50 free (24.91) and the 100 free (54.60) while teammate Danielle Alley (5:32.61) won the 500 free.
Mollin also won the 200 individual medley at 2:06.66.
"A lot of fun, a lot of fast swims today," said Saxons coach Tim O'Grady.
Stevenson had some outstanding runner-up placements Saturday; Allah Levinson in the 500 free, Vivian Zhu in the 100 breaststroke, and Nora Kowalski in the diving competition.
Conant's Kayla Puchitkanont was runner-up in both the 200 IM and the 100 fly.
Hersey's Natalia Plewa (first in the 100 yard breaststroke at 1:07.60) and the Huskies 200 free relay team (Lumsden, Plewa, Andrea Teves, and Ashley Oiler) gave a big assist to their team's winning cause.
"There was so much energy on the pool deck today," added Hersey's Lumsden, who is a 3-time state qualifier in the backstroke. "We all were cheering everyone on. Schaumburg has some really amazing swimmers, like Madi (Dohrn) and Nina, and I love to race against them. It pushes me to do my best."