Girls swimming: Eastmond helps Stevenson down Libertyville

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/12/2019 9:56 PM

She's always been a Patriot at heart.

And now junior Alex Eastmond actually is one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eastmond moved to the area from Canada a little over six years ago and started swimming with Patriot Aquatics.

"I've always wanted to come here (Stevenson)," she said. "Such a rich history and strong tradition."

Eastmond spent her first two years of high school at Libertyville and certainly left her mark in the pool, being a two-year state qualifier in multiple events.

Then the family moved over the summer and, well, Eastmond and her new teammates took to the pool for a North Suburban Conference dual meet on Thursday evening in Lincolnshire against you guessed it -- Libertyville.

"It was a little awkward. I hadn't seen (my old teammates) in a year," she said. "But we gave a bunch of hugs. I have some really great friends still at Libertyville."

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Eastmond helped make her former team pay by being a part of two individual victories and one relay as the Pats upended Libertyville 142-44.

"She's been a great addition," said Pats coach Kevin Zakrzewski, now in his fifth year. "She can swim any event. That's why we're training her in the IM. She's really stepped up her game, especially in practice."

Eastmond posted victories in the 200 freestyle (1:57.23) and 500 freestyle (5:15.00). She also competed in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay.

"I've been working really hard," said Eastmond. "We swim an awful lot in practice but it's made me better. The goal obviously is state."

While Eastmond was doing her thing, the Pats were taking care of business, winning 11 out of 12 events on the night.

The relays have been a staple and trademark for the Pats and that was no different Thursday.

The quartet of Elizabeth Cao, Katherine Makarska, Milena Busma, and Lucy Stevens won the opening 200 medley relay in 1:52.53. After Eastmond's victory in the 200 free, sophomore Claudia Rzeznik picked up a victory in the 200 IM (2:18.18).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Junior Jessica Nyborg also had a nice evening winning the 500 freestyle (24.80) and 100 butterfly (58.30).

She also led off the winning 400 freestyle relay where she paired with Maddy O'Donnell, Stevens, and freshman Isabelle Gattone to touch in 1:41.14.

Makarska also won the 100 breaststroke (1:11.34), while senior Hannah Cloeter won the 100 backstroke (1:07.04).

The 200 freestyle relay also picked up a victory when Nyborg, O'Donnell, Stevens, and Gattone touched in 1:41.14.

"We're excited about the potential," said Zakrzewski, who in his five years has had at least one relay make it to state. "We have a handful of newcomers but the expectations are always high. And our relays are a tribute to our depth and the quality of our numbers."

The Pats' Shreeya Sinha also won the 1-meter diving with 229.15 points.

Senior Paige Rankin won the 100 freestyle for Libertyville which welcomed back coach Mike Cunningham, who took a two-year hiatus but returned after Erik Rogers retired.

"It's good to be back," he said. "We have a pretty deep team and are looking to get as many people to state as possible."

Besides Eastmond, the Cats are without state qualifier senior Emma Gleason, who took the year off to concentrate on time trials.

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