Dunn, relays shine in girls swimming 6th place state finish


Hayden Claesson, Reporter

ACME printing may have a great business opportunity at the LT South Campus pool to update the record boards because of the new records that have been set at the state meet on Nov. 17-18. This year the girls set records in seven different events.

The team finished 6th overall in the entire state of Illinois at the IHSA state meet with a final score of 84 points, which is the highest the girls swimming and diving program has placed since 1997 when it got fifth place. This is also head coach Kurt Johns’ highest placing in state since taking over as head coach in 2011.

“Ultimately, I was really happy with how things shook out,” Johns said. “We had some tough moments on Friday with some people getting 14th or 16th, but that happens at every state meet so ultimately we were really pleased with how we swam.”

Callahan Dunn ‘20 highlighted the meet by finishing top six in both of her events. Dunn finished fifth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:02.56, which lowered her own school record. She was also the runner-up in the 500 Freestyle which posted another school record time of 4:53.09. The only person placing in front of her in the 500, Melissa Pish of Normal Community West High School, will graduate this year.

“It feels awesome to be seeded first in the 500 for next year,” Dunn said. “Especially because I️ didn’t really swim the 500 until this last year.”

Of the team members who qualified for state, only three seniors are graduating, Julia Cozzi ‘18, Madison Wanless ‘18, and Maggie Barney ‘18, none of whom scored at finals or were in any of the relays, which all qualified for finals.

“[Having many swimmers return] is a great feeling as a coach,” Johns said. “To know that hopefully they can go back next year with a newfound level of focus and determination is going to be really important to their performance.”

Other than relays and Dunn, the only other top six finisher from LT was Grace Prendergast ‘19 in the 100 yard backstroke who came in sixth with a time of 55.85 seconds, which is also a new school record.

The girls qualified all three of their relays for finals and broke a school record in every single one of them. Two of the relays, the 200 Medley relay and 200 Free Relay, placed top six while going times of 1:44.41 and 1:34.82, respectively.

“I was really nervous because I had never been in a race before with that level of competitiveness,” Prendergast said. “Afterwards, I was really proud because even though I gained time, I was proud of myself because I did what I didn’t think I could do.”

Another strong performance out of Dunn was the 400 Freestyle relay finished eighth, Dunn overcame a two second deficit to outtouch the Plainfield North relay and beat them by .01 seconds, with a final time of 3:29.59.

“I kind of just gave it my all,” Dunn said. “I knew it was my last race so I left it all in the pool. As soon as I saw that I touched her out I was super psyched.”

The winning team of the state meet is Rosary High school, marking its third consecutive state title. The beads scored 169 points and beat out runner up Oswego East high school who scored 138.5.

Other Notable swims were Mary Kate Gannon ’19 who placed 12th in the 100 butterfly with a 56.57, and Eleanor McMeen ‘21 who set another school record in the 50 Free clocking in at 23.