Girls swimming: Metea Valley takes 2nd at own invite
With the swimming postseason just around the corner, taking first place at Saturday's Mustang Invite in Aurora was not really top of mind for the swimmers or the teams, but that's not to say having fun was not on the agenda.
The 12-team meet at Metea Valley saw several swimmers compete in "off events" while the athletes prepare for next week's conference meets that will be followed by the sectional meets as swimmers gear up for state. Oswego topped the field with 489 points, but the runner-up Mustangs (384) and third-place Neuqua Valley (327) had plenty of fun and solid efforts and both programs look primed for postseason magic. Waubonsie Valley was seventh in the team standings and the Glenbard West/Glenbard South Co-Op eighth.
Metea Valley junior Amanda Schmitt, who won the 100 backstroke in 1:00.38 and also swam on the winning 200 medley relay, is enjoying a more normal campaign this season.
"It's just different from last year. We're all able to use the weight room and we can train inside and outside of the pool," said Schmitt, noting benefits of the post-COVID way of life. "We're getting stronger, we're breaking down the team into the sectional group right now. And it's getting serious. The atmosphere has way more of an oomph. We never had invites last year and this is our Mustang Invite. It's kind of like one of our biggest meets of the season because it's right before conference and sectionals."
Schmitt teamed with Halle Reifsnyder, Madeline Walbridge and Allison Leslie to take first in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:50.48. Neuqua Valley was a close second at 1:50.61 and the Warriors were third. Leslie was fifth in the 100 free for the Mustangs and teammate Emily Schalk placed third in the 100 butterfly. Sarah Rush swam with Schalk, Schmitt and Leslie while taking second in the 200 free relay.
"Right now we're about to go into conference so we're really beat down, but we're doing really well all things considered," said Schmitt. "Throughout the season, the practices have been really hard but we're grinding through, everybody's sticking together, everybody's encouraging each other even though it's really hard sometimes.
"I love high school swim because it's just like a community where you're there all day. I just like going from school to swim, school to swim. It's just like ... I'm excited to see how we do at the end of the season because we're having a lot of fun."
Neuqua Valley junior Kayla Brock, who swam on the winning 200 and 400 free relays Saturday, expects another strong postseason from the Wildcats, who won the virtual state title last season.
"I think we've had a good year so far and we've had really good team atmosphere," she said. "We just have a lot of fun at practices and it's a great team atmosphere. I think the seniors have done a great job of creating and rebuilding the atmosphere. We started off the year really strong and just making sure we're having fun is a big goal for us."
Abby Jensen took first in the 50 freestyle in 25.50 for the Wildcats, and added a third-place finish in the 500 free. Waubonsie Valley's Ellie Filipiak topped the field in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.62.