IN THE SPOTLIGHT
As several of his smiling athletes scrunched together on deck and posed for pictures with the championship plaque at last weekend’s Glenbrook South Sectional, New Trier girls swimming coach Mac Guy, standing nearby, delivered a friendly reminder.
“We do have another meet,” he said.
Forward-thinking coaches never like to bask in the present, especially when another meet (the state meet) is only a week away. But that didn’t mean Guy wasn’t proud of his Trevians, who set four pool records and finished with 297 points to nearly lap the rest of the sectional’s 13-team gathering in Glenview.
Runner-up Evanston produced 165 points, ahead of the third-place hosts (159) on Nov. 11.
“This sectional was tough to win, particularly tough,” Guy — named sectional co-coach of the year (with Glenbrook South helmsman Keith MacDonald) — said of a field that included the top three Central Suburban League South Meet finishers (NT, Evanston and GBS), reigning CSL North champion Deerfield High School, perennial power Loyola Academy and several standout racers from other schools.
Former softball infielder Kasey Venn went 3-for-3 without a bat last weekend, touching first in the 100-yard breaststroke (pool-record 1:03.41) and qualifying for the state meet in her other two other events (200 medley relay, 200 IM).
“Kasey,” Guy said, “is a competitor. She likes to be out in front, likes to win. She’s definitely hungry, and she feels she can do better at state.
“This was all new to her last year,” the coach added. “Kasey is now much more comfortable with the experience of racing in a big meet like this.”
Venn helped NT finish fifth at state last fall with her swim for the Trevs’ runner-up 200 medley relay. She joined senior and University of Chicago-bound Vivian Wu and sophomores Audrey Richardson and Joelle Ohr for a pool-record 1:43.47 in the same relay at the sectional last weekend. The blistering result bettered the previous mark (set in 2013) by more than two seconds.
Venn also advanced to state in the state with her fifth-place effort of 2:08.5.
Venn topped good friend Sydney Colburn (second place, state-qualifying 1:03.56) of Deerfield and senior teammate and Denison University-bound Olivia Lantry (fourth, state-qualifying 1:05.77) in the 100 breaststroke.
Former Loyola Academy star Evan Swenson, who swam for USC’s Pac-12 women’s team from 2014-17, had held the previous pool mark (1:03.82) in the 100 breaststroke since 2012.
Venn deflected attention on Venn after the sectional, preferring instead to tout the performances of her teammates. Lantry, she noted, had lopped nearly three seconds off her seed time in the 100 breaststroke.
“And I’m so proud of Vivian [Wu], so happy for her,” Venn said. “She’s such a positive person and teammate.”
Wu also pulled to runner-up honors in the 100 backstroke (state-qualifying 56.34) and earned a state berth as a part of the first-place 400 freestyle relay (pool-record 3:29.11, with Johns Hopkins University recruit Sarah Girgenti, Richardson and Ohr).
The talk of the morning diving segment at the sectional centered on NT junior diver Jessie Creed. Once again. The reigning state champion amassed a ridiculously high total of 556.3 points to capture her third sectional championship. Creed totaled 547.5 points at a sectional last fall, after collecting a first-place sectional medal with a 548.7-point effort as a freshman.
She ranks first among state qualifies this year by a country — no, a continent — mile. Second-ranked Cloe Pace of Neuqua Valley won a sectional last weekend with 466.8 points. NT sophomore Katie Lipsey, 12th in diving at state last year, finished runner-up (459.7) to Creed at last weekend’s sectional; Lipsey’s score was the third-best sectional score among all state qualifiers last weekend.
Ohr, sophomore Emma Eldring, Lantry and Girgenti collaborated for NT’s fourth pool record at the sectional, clocking a 1:35.35 in the 200 free relay to supplant a mark (1:35.95) that had stood since 2013.
Trevians junior Ceola Halloran (1:53.14) edged Girgenti (1:53.29) for first place in the 200 free and silvered in the 500 free with a time (5:05.98) well south of her seed time (5:18.51).
NT’s other state-qualifying results: Ohr (second place, 100 free, 51.57); Richardson (third, 200 IM, 2:06.55; fifth, 100 butterfly, 57.29); Girgenti (fourth, 100 free, 52.01); and freshman Greta Pelzek (sixth, 100 fly, 57.38).
New Trier sophomores Sela Cornell and Alex Brander each qualified for state four times in events for Athletes with Disabilities. Cornell won four events with times of 2:50.13 (200 free), 32.55 (50 free), 1:16.32 (100 free) and 1:37.31 (100 breaststroke).
New Trier hosts the state swimming and diving meet Nov. 17-18.
Bottom line: NT accumulated 25 state berths at last weekend’s sectional in Glenview.
Notable: NT’s Bruce Kimball was named sectional diving coach of the year at Glenbrook South last weekend. … Trevians senior Olivia Lantry placed sixth (24.49) in the 50 freestyle at the sectional, missing a state berth in the event by one-tenth of a second. She had entered the meet with a seed time of 25.21, the second-fastest time in the event’s penultimate heat. … Seven of NT’s 25 state swimming and diving entrants rank in the top 10 among all state qualifiers in their respective events.