Girls Swimming: Lockport eager to make statement
Updated: November 10, 2011 8:00PM
All the early morning practices, the countless laps in the pool, the endless practices through the dog days of the season.
All the hard work is about to pay off as area swim teams head to sectionals with a chance to qualify for the state meet.
“This is always a week full of emotions and nerves (heading into sectionals),” Lockport coach Grant Ferkaluk said. “As a swimmer, you’re feeling good with some rest and you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Lockport will host a sectional Saturday, with diving starting at 9 a.m. and the swimming competition beginning at 11 a.m. The sectional is one of 16 held around the state. All first-place finishers advance to the state meet at New Trier on Nov. 18 and 19.
Also advancing will be any swimmer who finishes her race in a time under a state-mandated cut.
Sandburg has dominated at sectionals over recent years, taking the team title eight years in a row. Lockport was the runner-up the last four seasons.
For most schools, the team title is a nice recognition while the priority is the state meet.
“Ultimately you want to get as many girls to state as you can,” Ferkaluk said. “You want to put girls in their best event to win to get to the state meet, and secondary fill out a lineup to win the sectional title.”
Freshman Amanda Moran has flourished this season for the Porters, making the jump from age-group swimming to the high school level. Moran’s times are near the state cut in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 backstroke.
“Amanda has always been focused on being an outstanding swimmer,” Ferkaluk said. “It wasn’t a difficult transition for her. Sometimes you can get lost on a large club team. With high school, you’ve got something to swim for, the school and the community.”
Returning state qualifiers Jill Rothgery (100 backstroke) and Kirsten Zborek (50 free, 100 free) also are possible state qualifiers for Lockport.
Swimming at the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional, Lincoln-Way East is looking for its fifth straight sectional title. The Griffins will attempt to hold off a rising program in Lincoln-Way North.
“The team works together to be there for each other,” East coach Kate Gabey said. “We’re trying to come out on top and continue to build that tradition we’ve built. At the same time there are bigger things we’re looking at. We want to make sure our relays and individuals get through (to state).”
With one race and one shot to advance to the state meet, Gabey knows the Griffins are ready to perform.
“We’re confident in them, and they’re physically ready,” Gabey said. “We do everything they need to get ready, and we show confidence in them. That mental aspect will come through because most of these races are mental as much as physical.”
Sloane McDermott and Taylor Jach lead the East swimmers, while diver Kyleigh Seibert is looking to qualify for state for a third straight year.