Girls swimming; Hersey's depth evident at Conant Cougar Classic

By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/12/2019 8:53 PM

Powerful Hersey swept away the other six competitors at the 30th annual Conant Cougar Classic in girls swimming action Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies won five of the events, placed second in six events and took one third. Hersey won all three classes and the overall meet with 332 points. Whitney Young came in second with 230 and Schaumburg finished third with 185.50.


The Saxons won five events and placed second in another.

The host Cougars placed sixth and Hoffman Estates finished seventh.

"This meet just shows our depth," said veteran Hersey coach Dick Mortensen. "Because our depth is so good, we are still trying to figure out our conference and sectional spots. These girls are fighting for their lives to see what level they will swim in."

Saturday afternoon, two swimmers stood out in Hersey's Ella Salm and Schaumburg sophomore Nina Mollin.

Mollin's biggest win was in the 200-yard medley, where she posted a 2:08.34 over Hersey's Maggie Papanicholas, who finished in 2:14.31.

Mollin won the 500-yard freestyle in a very impressive 5:06.43 over Hersey's Shannon Blumenfeld's 5:29.50. Mollin also gave the Saxons, which they won, a big lead in the 400-yard relay with a 52.73 in the first 100 yards.

"On Thursday we raced against Conant and I did pretty good," said Mollin. "I was excited to race here today with a bigger crowd. In the 400 relay I had been thinking in practice on trying to start out with a 25 (seconds) for the first hundred yards. I set the pace that I wanted to."

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"In the 400," said Schaumburg coach Tim O'Grady, "we saw that she was ahead of everyone after Nina's first 25 yards. I think it gave the rest of the girls confidence and they wanted to keep that lead when it was their turn. This team has developed a good work attitude and ethic over the past few years. They put out the effort."

Salm, is the anchor on the Huskies' relay teams.

Ella is our anchor," said Mortensen. "She handles the medley and 400 relay. I work it out for her to anchor because she is such a bulldog. She does not like to lose. She's a very even-keeled person out of the pool but in it, she will fight to get to the wall. She just has a great mentality."

"Competition really gets me going," said Salm. "I'm just a competitor. I go as hard as I can on the last laps to help my team win the event. I go so hard because of my effort and desire to succeed. I know that as the season progresses the training will get harder. We really have great dynamics and it really helps."

Hersey won the 200 medley with Mollie Lumsden, Papanicholas, Brooke Martin and Salm beating Schaumburg by a mere .30.

Madi Dohrn took honors for the Saxons in the 200 freestyle by besting Jamie Gindorf of Crystal Lake co-op 1:57.54 to 1:59.95.


Salm posted a 25.72 in the 50-yard freestyle over Young's Rory Aspin with a 26.08.

Conant standout Megumi Komoto won the 100 butterfly in 58.93 over Martin's 1:02.

Taylor Otey of Young won the 100-yard freestyle with a 55.86 over Salm's 57.11.

Natalia Pewa, Papanicholas, Martin and Salm took first in the 200-yard free relay in a snappy 1:42.49.

Dohrn captured the 100 backstroke, besting Lumsden with a 57.99 to 1:00.54.

Papanicholas won the 100-yard breaststroke, one of her top events, easily with a 1:03.44 win over Crystal Lake's Olivia Dannhaus' 1:10.06.

"This was a good meet for us," said Mortensen. "It gave a chance for our B and C teams to compete. We haven't been able to compete in this match for five years because we would have our own meet on this day. We were able to work this out and it was great competition."

At Naperville North: Fremd senior Sophia Kuehn, seventh at 2018 state in the 200 IM, was a solid second in the Blue Division with a time of 2:10.13.

"We're kind of in the middle of our training so it's really hard lately," Kuehn said. "I feel by the end of the season I'll have a better chance of finishing a little better, but I felt like my back(stroke) was really strong. My breaststroke was a little flat, but overall it wasn't a bad race."

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