Naperville North squad deep in the pool
BY NEIL SHALIN -- NAPERVILLE SUN
It's common knowledge that the Naperville North swimming and diving team is strong, but the Huskies are developing depth beyond the group of known quantities that is expected to lead the team to a high finish at state.
A trio of previously unheralded junior free-stylers who showed steady improvement throughout the season will be on display this weekend for the Huskies at the Metea Valley Sectional.
Adrienne Jamieson will be swimming in the 100 freestyle, Megan Anderson in the 200 freestyle and Sofi Prorok made the sectional team in the 500 freestyle.
"Adrienne keeps resetting her goals because she keeps beating her times," said Naperville North coach Kristy Holben.
"All three girls worked hard throughout the season and earned their spots on the team. They beat out a number of impressive girls and they've continued to work hard to make a good showing at sectional."
Holben isn't predicting state qualification for the three just yet, though it is possible.
"It's a big deal for a swimmer to make the sectional team," Holben said. "And they should gain confidence from this achievement. Also, they will get a lot just competing at this level. If they don't make the state cut this year, they're in good position to do it as seniors."
The Huskies, who finished 15th at state in 2009 with a young team, are hoping to improve on that this year with a good chance of making the finals in the relays, plus some genuine scoring threats including Jen Law, Caitlin Pilgrim, Amy Novak, Lauren Bogle and diver Paige Bloodgood.
The Metea Valley Sectional could be a showcase for at least six divers who have the potential to finish in the top 12 at state.
Lauren Mikulecky of Neuqua Valley and Taylor Eggenberger of Waubonsie Valley have the top three as their goal, but both have a chance to win it all.
Others in the sectional diving competition today who have their eyes on the top 12 are Naperville Central's Molly Schatz, Rosary's Grace Miller and Benet's Taylor Kramer.
"This is the most talented group of kids we've ever had in this area," said Neuqua Valley diving coach Gerry Petit. "All six of them are capable of making the finals. This is certainly one of the best, if not the best diving sectional in the state."
The winner of the 16 sectionals automatically qualifies for state, while the next 32 highest sectional scorers fill out the field of 48 at next week's sectional meet.
"The sectional meet is all about putting up points," said Petit. "The final standing is secondary to putting up the numbers they need to qualify."
Sophomore Julia Roller is Naperville Central's big hope to score at state this year.
At this weekend's sectional, Roller will be swimming in the 100 butterfly and the 500 freestyle in hopes of making it to state for the second straight year.
She'll also swim the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay and will start off the 400 free relay.
Roller, who finished near but not in the top 12 in both events, is hoping to get to the finals this year.
"I'm not sure of the competition," said Roller. "But I think I have a better chance of making it in the fly. I'm working on the 500 to try to make it faster."
An extra challenge for Roller at both sectionals and state is the fact that her two individual races are separated by just one event, the 100 freestyle.
"Swimming the fly kind of works me up to the 500," she said. "I use up a ton of energy for the fly, but then I'm able to regain it during the 100 free, and then I'm warmed up to where I can do my best in the 500."
Another goal Roller has is to break Amy Prestinario's school record for freshmen and sophomores in the 100 butterfly. The records stands at 57.51.
"I'm really close," Roller said. "My goal is to get to 56.5, a second under. I want to get my name up there for the butterfly."