Strong representation at state : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Strong representation at state|
|Casas reaches finals in two events, relay takes 11th|
|by Christine Bolin Dascher|
The Oswego-Oswego East girls' swimming and diving team saw fast and fierce competition at the state meet at Evanston Township last Friday and Saturday.
The squad had state qualifiers in nine of the 12 events last Friday, while the 200-medley relay team and junior Nelly Casas in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle swim advanced to Saturday's finals.
With the top 12 advancing out of Friday's prelims, Casas placed seventh last Saturday in the 500 with a time of 4:58.18. Barrington's Kirsten Jacobsen won it in 4:50.53.
Casas went 12th overall in the 200 in 1:52.96. Normal University's Hannah Boyd won it in 1:49.05.
"I was so excited because my goal was to make the finals in both events," Casas said. "I think (individually) the season went really good. The outcomes I wanted were about what I wanted. I'm already excited for next year."
"(Casas) swam great on Friday, but I thought she could have made top six in both events," Oswego-Oswego East head coach Deryl Leubner added.
The relay team of senior Erin Newman and juniors Hannah McDowell, Emily Wulff and Sydney Lloyd went 11th overall in 1:48.32. Fenwick won it in 1:41.87.
"We were happy to move up one place (from Friday), so we were right there," Leubner said.
New Trier won state with a 166, followed by Fenwick (157), Neuqua Valley (99), Glenbrook South (96) and Loyola (80). Latin and Oswego East each ended up with 12 points.
Glenbrook South senior Olivia Smoliga set national records in the 50 freestyle (21.99) and 100 backstroke (51.43). She and her teammates also broke the 400-freestyle relay record in the meet's final event on Saturday (3:24.50).
"The meet was insanely fast, top to bottom," Leubner said. "The points were all spread out. No team had a tremendous amount of points."
In the prelims on Friday, Casas qualified in the 500 after she placed eighth in 4:59.21. In the 200, she went 10th in 1:52.33.
"Friday was such a long day and we all wanted to get through it - but it still was exciting," Casas said.
The relay team was the 12th and final team to qualify on Friday with a time of 1:47.66.
"It was the first event, and they didn't execute particularly well," Leubner said. "They weren't very good under water. The shallow pool really slowed them down.
"Our turns weren't right on and they were a little sluggish all the way through."
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Newman, McDowell, Wulff, Casas competed in Friday's prelims and placed 20th with a time of 1:38.96, but did not advance to the finals.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Lloyd clocked in with her best time of 57.98 (24th). In the 100-yard backstroke, she went 33rd at 58.74.
In the 100-yard breaststroke, Wulff went 20th in 1:06.73 and junior Sam Montano 29th in 1:07.25.
Junior diver Justine Voss scored a 152.55 (36th) and Newman went 51st in 25.03 in the 50-yard freestyle.
McDowell also was at state in the 50 free but was disqualified. She also finished 46th in the 100-yard backstroke in 59.76.
"We swam well - there were no bad swims," Leubner said. "When you get to the state meet, bad swims can happen with nerves and all that. We had some best times, it's just the meet was faster than what we planned on. There were a lot of unpredictables. There were so many freshmen competing and a lot of unknowns coming in."
This was Newman's fourth and final appearance at state. She will swim at Delta State University in Mississippi next year.
"She's signed, sealed and delivered," Leubner said of Newman. "This was the school she liked the most, and this is what she wanted. She's very happy."
Oswego wraps up another successful season. The team won another Independent Conference title and went 6-1 in dual meets this year. They placed fourth at the Metea Valley Sectional, where Leubner was named the Sectional Coach of the Year for the third time since the 2007 season.
Newman is the only state qualifier graduating, which means the program is primed for another great year next year.
"I'm so happy for all the success the team had this year," Casas said. "It just makes us have bigger goals for next year."