Journal & Topics Media Group

Stevenson, RM Bring Home State Swim Titles

Stevenson scored 123.5 points to finish fourth in the IHSA girls swimming and diving state championship meet at FMC Natatorium in Westmont Saturday, Nov. 12.

New Trier earned another state championship, winning the meet with 149.5 points to best Hinsdale Central (131) and St. Charles North (128). A total of 41 teams scored points at state, including seven Journal-area teams, led by Stevenson.

Besides the Patriots, there was Fremd (13th place, 31 points), Buffalo Grove (15th, 23 pts.), Rolling Meadows (21st, 14.5 pts.), Glenbrook South (24th, 13 pts.), Loyola Academy (25th, 12 pts.) and Palatine (38th, 3 pts.).

While the team title isn’t returning to the Journal-area, there are a few state champions from the area. 

Stevenson’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Abby Collins, Stephanie Kirova, Linnea Florin and Izzie Gattone won the race in 1:33.06, dropping nearly one second off their prelim time (1:33.98).

Rolling Meadows knew they had a great swimmer in Vera Conic when she hit the pool to start her freshman season a few months back. Not sure they envisioned a state championship in her first state meet, becoming the first Mustangs swimming state champion in program history.

Conic swam to a 55.09 in the 100-yard backstroke to tie New Trier’s Tierney Lenahan for the win. Loyola’s Maria Cheng (55.56) was third and Stevenson’s Jennifer Chen (55.63) was fourth, giving the Journal-area three of the top four spots at state in the event. Palatine’s Yugene Shin also earned a medal with an 11th place finish in 57.33.

Stevenson earned medals in the other two relay races.

Finishing third in the 400-yard free for Stevenson (3:26.72) were Collins, Gattone, Milena Busma and Chen. Buffalo Grove’s Payton Menely, Ella Houston, Reese Frighetto and Victoria Surdyka finished ninth in 3:31.54.

Stevenson was sixth in the 200-yard medley relay with Chen, Kirova, Busma and Collins in 1:43.52. They improved on their prelim time of 1:43.86.

Besides the relays, Stevenson picked up numerous individual medals as well.

Hana Wienckowski took 12th (1:54.3) in the 200-yard free and 12th (52.47) in the 100-yard free.

Stevenson’s Lada Volkov took 10th in 1-meter diving with a 402.9 score.

In the 50-yard free, Fremd’s Katie Kuehn (23.08) finished third and Stevenson’s Kirova (23.35) fifth, for another great area finish.

Kirova took ninth (1:04.43) in the 100-yard breaststroke, an inch behind Buffalo Grove’s Surdyka (1:04.42), who placed eighth. New Trier’s Maggie Papanicholas, formerly of Hersey, placed third in 1:02.52. 

Stevenson’s Busma earned a medal in the 100-yard fly with a third place showing in 54.64.

Buffalo Grove’s Houston finished fifth in the 500-yard free in 4:59.19, while Stevenson had two swimmers bookend the consolation race. Amy Andres was seventh in the 500 free in 4:59.3 and teammate Shay Donovan was 12th in 5:09.62.

Barrington’s Jenna Karr won the 500-yard free in a pool record time of 4:46.3.

Fremd’s Kuehn had a joyous or heartbreaking outcome, depending on how you look at it, Saturday in the 100-yard free. The day before, Kuehn was a little off and finished eighth in prelims in 51.59. Only the top six get to race for the championship. The consolation race determines the finishes from 7th-12th.

Kuehn posted a blazing fast 50.33 time Saturday to finish seventh overall, but it was the fastest time in the state overall. The overall winner was St. Igantius’ Julieta Tracy in 50.42. 

Glenbrook South’s Jacki Stadler closed out her great prep career with a runner-up finish in 1-meter diving with a 450.8. Fremd sophomore Que Genet was third with a 444.5.

Palatine’s Riley Strahl, a state qualifying gymnast last year, finished 12th in 1-meter diving with a 398.05 score.

In the athletes with disabilities events, the Journal had one competitor in two events. Niles West’s Celine Rayan finished seventh in the 50-yard free in 55.4 and seventh in the 100-yard free in 2:11.28.

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