HS Girls Article from DeKalb Chronicle


Relays, Wallers heading to state

By James Nokes - [email protected]

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St. CHARLES – Emily Waller was poised, focused and relaxed.

She’d experienced this type of setting before, knew how to deal with the pressure and utilize the simple message from DeKalb swimming coach Marybeth McGill to, “just get the job done.ý Waller got the job done Saturday at the IHSA St. Charles North girls swimming sectional and finished first in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle with times of 24.53 and 53.69 seconds. Both times were good enough to secure Waller’s third straight berth in the IHSA State Meet.

Waller didn’t let Thursday’s signing of a National Letter of Intent to swim at Bowling Green next year become a distraction. Rather, she said she used the event as motivation.

“It gave me more momentum going into today,ý Emily Waller said. “I was excited to have to opportunity to swim at such a great program and I think that really helped me today.ý

 Waller will also get some help next week when she walks out to the pool at the IHSA State Meet next Friday at Evanston. The DeKalb/Sycamore co-op also qualified both the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. The 200 team finished third with a time of 1:39.40 and the 400 team was second with a time of  3:37.03. The relay-team members are Emily Waller, Grace Waller, Kate Taylor and Sycamore’s Casey Jepsen.

In post-meet interviews, sophomore Grace Waller turned to big sister Emily Waller and asked how long it had been since DeKalb sent both relay teams to the State Meet. In perhaps the most fitting answer of the day, big sister Emily Waller quipped, “too long.ý

McGill swam on the 1977 and 1978 DeKalb teams that finished third and fifth, respectively, at the state meet and said the individual qualifiers will get a boost from having more fans and teammates present.

Grace Waller qualified in the 200 yard IM and also looks forward to swimming on both relay teams. There is a different approach when it comes to relays. It’s not just one-on-one with the clock, but a group effort.

“We’ve got high expectations,ý Grace Waller said. “It’s not just your individual race that matters but now you can’t let people down in the relay.ý

But it was Emily Waller, sectional champion in two events, that set her sights the highest for next week’s State Meet. After finishing 12th in the 100-yard free style last year, Emily Waller said she has a goal of finishing in the top three. McGill switched Emily Waller from the 200-free style to the 50-free style and said she’s made a tremendous adjustment this year.

“She didn’t seem nervous at all,ý McGill said. “There’s a lot of pressure as a No. 1 seed. But, she had positive confidence that wasn’t cocky. She knew she’d done it before.ý