High school sports dynasties: Girls No. 2, Rosary swimming

  • Rosary swimmers celebrates its 2015 state championship, one of seven the school has won since 2000.

    Rosary swimmers celebrates its 2015 state championship, one of seven the school has won since 2000. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 5/23/2020 11:53 AM

With the popularity of the recent Last Dance docuseries, a popular topic has been which of the Chicago Bulls' two three-peats were better.

It shows just how dominating the Rosary swimming program has been in the 2000s that it can have the same discussion.


Was it from 2006-07 through 2009-10 when the Beads won four straight state titles? Or the stretch from 2015-16 to 2017-18 when they won three in a row and just missed beating Neuqua Valley to make it another four-year run?

Talk about your rich-world problems.

How could you ever pick?

The coach of those seven state championship teams, Bill Schalz, couldn't. But he did enjoy the topic, bringing back memories of Olivia Scott and Mackenzie Powers powering the first run and a more balanced team in the second. He pointed out that even though the first group won four straight, the second scored more total points.

"The first run with one dominant swimmer, you know she's (Scott) good for 32 points in individual events before the meet starts," Schalz said. "The second run didn't have a superstar, had some great swimmers all in the top six, but none that will win two events in state."

Rosary's dominance, which also included five second places and four thirds for 16 top three state finishes in 20 years, was the result of not just talent but teamwork. Instead of swimming two individual events at state, many chose to give up a second individual race to join a third relay and help Rosary score more points.

"Just that total team commitment," Schalz said. "The trophies are fun but what makes the best part is the kids and coming together for the common good and the team. Whenever I reflect back on it there's the trophies and all that stuff but it's just the people involved and kids and some of the parents I'm still close friends with. That's really the cool thing. To have those groups of kids over the years buy into the level of excellence that we were shooting for."

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