Girls Swimming: Sandburg, L-Way East eye Saturday swims

Story Image Returning varsity swimmers at Sandburg High School Tara Capouch and Brittany Kamper (left to right) pose at the school in Orland Park, Illinois Monday afternoon August 15, 2011. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 16, 2011 8:17PM

With three meets making up the swimming postseason, the Sandburg Eagles have a simple mantra: swim fast at conference, swim fast at sectionals, swim fastest at state.

Sandburg qualified swimmers in six individual events and three relay teams.

The state meet will be held Friday and Saturday at New Trier in Winnetka. The top 12 swimmers from Friday’s heats advance to Saturday’s consolation and championship heats. For the Eagles, the goal is to improve on last season’s 17th-place state finish.

“This is a veteran team. No newbies in the bunch,” Sandburg coach Jane Caliendo said. “They know what happens at this meet and to keep your emotions in check. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but our eyes are on the prize.”

Four-time state qualifier Tara Capouch leads Sandburg and will swim in the 200-yard freestyle, in which she finished ninth last year. The senior is seeded well outside the top 12, but like most of her teammates the senior saved her taper training for the state meet.

Because of holding off on the taper, Capouch’s time should see a several-second drop, hopefully vaulting her into the top 12. She also will compete in the 100 free, seeded 22nd.

The Eagles also will get a boost in the 200 free relay with Brittany Kamper joining the team. Failing to qualify individually in the backstroke because of a slip at the sectional, Kamper is now available to join the relay.

“Brittany was really disappointed about the backstroke, but she’s bounced back and committed to helping the relays,” Caliendo said. “We always swim well with our relays. It’s a good sign of the girls swimming for each other and swimming well.”

While Sandburg looks to vault up the team standings, Lincoln-Way East simply is trying to reach the team standings. At the 2010 state meet, the Griffins failed to advance an individual or a relay to Saturday’s finals.

“This year we have been gunning for (the state meet),” East coach Kate Gabey said. “A lot of our girls weren’t (tapered) at sectionals, so they’re ready. I feel like we’re right where we want to be going into the state meet.”

Four-time state qualifier Sloane McDermott (200 IM, 100 backstroke) and junior Taylor Jach (200 and 500 free) have led the Griffins all season and figure to make noise individually. The 200 and 400 free relays also advanced for East.

The disappointment of last season’s performance still lingers, but the state meet provides a clean slate.

“We didn’t get anyone to Saturday last year, and we’ve taken an issue to be ready,” Gabey said. “Focus on those Friday races so we’ll have swimmers in a race or two Saturday.”

Lincoln-Way North and Lockport also could figure into the final team standings. For North, Cheyenne DeGraff (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) will look to improve on her 12th-place finish in the breaststroke last year.

Lockport almost caught Sandburg at the sectional meet, losing 296-295. The Porters advanced two relay teams and six individual swimmers, Amanda Moran leading the way.

Tinley Park’s Hannah Schultz will look to build on her state performance as a freshman, when she finished 11th in the 100 butterfly. The sophomore also qualified in the 50 free.

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