Girls Swimming: Mary Kate Callahan key as Fenwick claims sectional title

Story Image OakPark Saturday 11/10/12 Fenwick's Haley Wickham during the 200 medley relay at the IHSA sectional meet held at Fenwick High School. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 10, 2012 7:41PM

The Fenwick girls swim team extended its reign as sectional champions to a decade on Saturday.

The Friars hosted the the sectional meet and scored 347.5 points to defeat Oak Park-River Forest (261) and Northside College Prep (207.5).

Last season, Fenwick finished second at state, posting 15 points behind New Trier. This time, the Friars advanced 10 swimmers, one diver and three relay teams to compete at next week’s state meet in Evanston.

“The team looked great, and we all went into it really confident,” Fenwick senior Haley Wickham said. “I think this is the hardest, out of all four years, this is the hardest team I’ve been on for training. This specific team works the hardest and is the closest.”

Among the Friar’s qualifiers is senior Mary Kate Callahan, who is paralyzed from the waist down. This year, the IHSA allowed student athletes with disabilities to compete in its state meets. Callahan qualified for the 200 freestyle, 50 free, 100 free and 100 breaststroke, and will be among seven other athletes with disabilities competing at next week’s state meet.

“It’s been a long journey; it’s almost been four years,” said Callahan, who has been on the Fenwick team since she was a freshman but never got to swim for a shot at state. “I’ve talked with the other swimmers who are swimming at other sectionals today, and they never thought this was ever going to happen.”

Senior Mary Clare Stannard and junior Alanna Dassoff won’t be the only Huskies going to state this time.

Stannard and Dassoff qualified last year, and this time, they will be joined by senior diver Maddy O’Rourke (366.7), senior Miranda Tranmer (100 butterfly), and the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams.

“Freshman year it was just me, so that was depressing,” said Dassoff, who will compete in the 100 free and 100 backstroke. “Last year I was so grateful to have Mary Clare with me. And now both of us are so ecstatic that it’s not going to be this big empty pool. We’re actually going to keep most of our group, so it’s awesome.”

Stannard will represent the Huskies in the 200 and 500 free.

Fenwick’s state team includes: seniors Michelle Kaluski (diving) and Wickham (100 breast); juniors Grace Gibbons (200 free), Paulina Kaminski (200 individual medley, 100 breast), Colleen Barron (50, 100 free), Adelaide Curry (50 free), Mimi Schneider (100 butterfly) and Maggie Sheean (100 back); freshmen Kierston Farley-Sepe (100 butterfly, 100 back) and Catherine Wallace (100 free); and 200 medley, 200 and 400 free relay teams.

Fenwick coach Renee Miller, who is in her 20th year with the program, and Lane’s Rummelhoff were voted Sectional Coaches of the Year.

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