Red Devils Prep for State Swim and Dive Meet
Seven of the Hinsdale Central competitors will be seniors in their last high school meet.
The first swimming event scheduled at this weekend’s state meet at New Trier Township High School in Winnetka will be the 200-yard Medley Relay. The event leads off every swim meet and, according to Hinsdale Central head girls swimming coach Bob Barber, it is a crucial tone-setter.
“If we can have a good medley, our day goes pretty well,” Barber said. “If we have an average medley we have to climb back into it, and if we have a bad medley we’re in trouble.”
So it must be a good thing that Barber’s medley relay team—which features seniors Hannah Lillioja, Lindsay Pavich, Genna Heidkamp and Jen Coady—is coming off a school record time of 1:46.43 at Saturday’s Lyons Township Sectional.
There are 11 other events; Hinsdale Central has qualifiers in 10. Nine Red Devils will be competing this weekend—seven seniors, one junior, and one freshman.
Individually, seniors Abbey King and Kristen Worthington both qualified in the 200-yard Freestyle and the 500-yard Freestyle. Pavich will compete in the 200-yard Individual Medley and the 100-yard Breaststroke. Lillioja will compete in the 100-yard Butterfly and the 100-yard Backstroke.
Coady will also compete in the 200 IM, an event in which she set the Hinsdale Central record at state 2010; Heidkamp qualified for the 100 Butterfly along with Lillioja. Senior Fotini Kaufman will compete in the 100-yard Freestyle and freshman Margaret McCarthy qualified for the diving competition.
In addition to the medley relay, the Red Devils also qualified teams for the 200-yard Freestyle Relay (Pavich, junior Kerry Grosshans, Coady and Heidkamp) and the 400-yard Freestyle Relay (Worthington, Coady, Heidkamp and King).
The only event a Red Devil won’t compete in is the 50-yard Freestyle sprint.
Heidkamp, competing in her fourth state meet, said at an event featuring competitors from 104 schools the team can only control its own performance and Coady, competing in her third, said the senior-heavy squad doesn’t have any specific expectations.
“I don’t think we’re all looking to place any certain places or look for any times, we just want to have fun and experience the emotion of the state meet one last time,” Coady said.
There are about 10 “viable” teams competing in Winnetka, according to Barber, and he said six of them have top-three potential.
“I’m not sure where we fit in that group,” Barber said.
Heidkamp said New Trier, Loyola Academy, Fenwick, Glenbrook South, and Neuqua Valley are among the top teams, but she said 2011 is an odd year.
“In other years there’s an obvious dominant team,” Heidkamp said. “This year there are four teams that you don’t know what they’re going to do.”
The seven seniors finishing their high school careers at state will stick in Barber’s mind for how they have come together as a team so organically over their four years. The 12th-year coach said that with past groups, he has had to help make that happen.
“They never cease to impress,” Barber said. “They impressed me coming in as freshmen; they’ve impressed me leaving as seniors.”
Heidkamp said she thinks the seniors aren’t yet looking at this weekend as their final meet; the emotion of the state meet is keeping their minds occupied.
“I’m sure that after Saturday, in our beds at home, it’ll kind of hit us,” Heidkamp said. “But for right now more than anything it’s excitement to see what we’re going to do.”
Friday’s diving prelims begin at 9 a.m. and that first medley relay is at 3:30 p.m. The top 12 finishers in each event Friday move on to Saturday’s finals.