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West Chicago Co-Op Girls Swim Team Wildcats Win Sectionals For The First Time In Thirty-One Years

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What a Time To Be a Wildcat! It’s been said multiple times by the West Chicago Voice, but we’ll say it again, this year has been an incredible year athletically and competitively across the board for athletics at West Chicago Community High School- from boy’s soccer, to girls volleyball, varsity football and now swimming!
The girls’ co-op swim team competed in an IHSA Sectional meet at St. Charles North High School, with the hopes of advancing to the state meet. The team scored a whopping scored 275 points. The co-op swim team is comprised of West Chicago, Geneva, and Batavia swimmers.
The meet started with a 200 Medley relay as Katherine Smith, Ryan Lehan, Mia Marin, and Cora Garling combined to drop 2 seconds and move up one spot to finish 3rd. Amelia Murphy and Audrey Lindstrom competed in the 200 Freestyle. Audrey went out fast, taking the first 100 out in a lifetime personal best 100 times before Amelia ran her down in the second 100. The two of them combined for a 1-2 finish, with Amelia winning her 3rd straight sectional 200 free title. In the end, both of them were under the IHSA State Qualifying time and will get to swim it at State next weekend.
The girls then moved to the 200 IM where Cora Garling and Megan Sego both moved up multiple spots (2 for each of them) with both of them dropping 5+ seconds off their seed times. In the end, Cora finished 6th while Megan finished 3rd.
Moving onto the “splash and dash”, both Claire Conklin and Hollyn Ambre were in the last heat with hopes of making it to the state meet. Hollyn was swimming a double that you don’t see very often, the 50 and the 500, and was able to sprint her way to a 24.14, lifetime personal best time, and her first-ever individual state cut. Not to be outdone, Claire won her second career Sectional title, and their second of the day, swimming her 50 Freestyle in a new team record time of 23.11

 “I knew I had to swim well and push myself and be positive. I am really excited about the state meet next weekend. We had a great day as a team.” – Claire Conklin

After the first break, the swimmers were looking for a spark to keep the momentum going and they got it from their pair of flyers. Mia Marin broke the 1:00 barrier for the first time in her life, moving up from her 4th seed to finish 3rd in a time of 59.98. Megan Sego, swimming in the same heat, took it out fast and worked to hang on, breaking the 1:00 barrier for the first time in her career (along with the 59 and 58 barrier!) to finish in 2nd place with a time of 57.84 which earned her an IHSA State cut for the first time in her career.

The swimmers then headed into the 100 Freestyle with both Amelia and Claire looking to qualify for the event like they did last year. Amelia was the outside smoke as she dropped 1.2 seconds to dip under the state cut and finish 5th. Meanwhile, Claire broke her own team record with a 51.03, earning her a win and a spot in next weekend’s state meet.

The distance girls then dove in and Hollyn Ambre was able to show off the impressive range of events that she had where she dropped 5 seconds off her seed time to finish 3rd, qualifying for the state meet in that event for the first time. Audrey Lindstrom led from wire to wire with a huge swim to knock out her own team record and record a new best time of 5:03.53 winning her first-ever Sectional Title.
The second relay of the day was up next and it didn’t disappoint. The relay team of Amelia Murphy, Audrey Lindstrom, Claire Conklin, and Hollyn Ambre combined to win the sectional title in the event and earn their way through to the state meet.
After the final break, the Freshman took to the pool to keep the momentum going. Katherine Smith was able to knock off 3 seconds off her seed time and got a lifetime-best 100 back along with moving up 2 places to finish 7th and earn some huge points. Emery Larsen was not to be outdone as she went a lifetime best with another 3-second drop, moving up 2 places to finish 6th.
In the final individual event, Ryann Lehan swam a great 100 Breast to score some very big points for the team in her first-ever sectional meet. While on the other side of the pool, Cora Garling made an absolutely crazy run at a sectional title in her last individual swim of her career and was able to move up 1 spot to a 4th place finish.
The girls ended the meet the same way it went for much of the day, with a great swim in the 400 Freestyle Relay. Audrey led off with a massive 52.9, her lifetime best 100 time by 2.2 seconds(!!) to our us in a good spot. Hollyn followed up with a 52 of her own before Claire led the charge into the lead with a big 50.8 split. Amelia held off a furious charge by St. Charles North enough to get her hand on the wall first for the Wildcats warning the second relay win of the day.
In the end, the Wildcats were able to finish in first place in the meet, winning every freestyle event on the day. This marks the first IHSA Sectional title for the Wildcats since 1992 .

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