Girls swimming and diving: Hersey earns 5th straight MSL East title

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/17/2019 11:01 PM

Five in a row.

The Hersey girls swimming team took care of business Thursday at Elk Grove, outpointing the Grenadiers 136-50 to win its fifth consecutive Mid-Suburban East championship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"The girls have been working hard," said Huskies coach Dick Mortensen. "We had a crazy week of workouts, and we're excited that we finished our dual meets this season undefeated, and won all of our invites. We're all looking forward to our championship season coming up."

Junior Ashley Hintz led the way for Hersey, winning the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:02.11, the 100 free (57.34), and the 400 free relay (3:45.78) along with teammates Maggie Papanicholas, Mia Drago, and Natalia Plewa.

The Huskies also won the 200 medley relay behind Hintz, Plewa, Brooke Martin and Ella Salm.

"I honestly think this was one of our best meets," said Hintz. "We're all fighting for spots right now, trying to get a spot for conference and sectionals. We've got a lot of depth on this team."

Natalie Wlodarz had a strong meet for host Elk Grove, taking the 200 IM (2:17.81) and just missing in the 100 fly, finishing second by just .44.

"I was ready to race today," said Wlodarz, a junior. "I've been practicing hard and the training is paying off."

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"She's a great swimmer," said Grens coach Dave Toler. "We have high hopes (for her) for conference medals and state qualifying. She's really good in every event, but I think we've finally settled in on the 500 and maybe the 200 IM. I'm not surprised at all that she won (the IM) tonight."

Other Hersey winners Thursday were Mollie Lumsden in the 50 free (26.05) and the 100 fly (1:01.29); Drago (2:01.72) in the 200 free; Allyson Blumenfeld in the 1-meter dive; Plewa (1:08.87) in the 100 breaststroke; and Shannon Blumenfeld (5:31.16) in the 500 free.

Also posting a victory was the Hersey 200 free relay team of Salm, Lumsden, Natalia Jackowski, and Olivia Klancnik.

Grens senior Rachel Ford, who put together solid performances in the 200 medley relay, the 500 free and the 100 yard backstroke, was one of the honorees as Elk Grove celebrated Senior Night.

"Very exciting, it's nice to see the whole team out here supporting us," said Ford, who says she plans to continue her swim career in college next fall while studying exercise science and psychology. "The time has gone by so fast, it seems like almost last month that I started my freshman year so it's kind of insane that's it's going to be over so quick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We might not have won the meet tonight," she added," but it was important to come out tonight and race against yourself and get your own personal best."

Wlodarz was one of the Grens honoring her senior teammates, and she said the celebration struck a chord with her.

"I've been with these girls my whole career," said the junior. "It's going to be sad to see them go -- I got kind of tearful tonight. Next year I'll be a senior and so the pressure will be on me to leave my mark, and my sister (Jessica) will be a freshman so it'll be my job to be the senior sister."

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