HS Girls Article from DeKalb Chronicle


One goal remains: Taylor, Jepsen looking for relay titles for DeKalb

By James Nokes - Daily Chronicle

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Kate Taylor, a senior at DeKalb High School, practices her freestyle swim at DeKalb High School. Taylor is a part of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams, which advanced to Saturday's IHSA State Swim Meet. Rob Winner - [email protected]

DeKALB – Call them living legends. They’ve rewritten the school record books and they still have on meet left; one more set of goals to accomplish.

When asked what it is like to have your name listed on the school-record signs that hang on the wall at the DeKalb pool the relay team for the DeKalb/Sycamore girls swimming co-op the team goes quiet. The burst of humility comes from a confident yet humble team that will head to Friday’s IHSA State Meet in both the 200 yard freestyle relay and the 400 yard freestyle relay.

“It’s pretty cool,ý DeKalb’s Kate Taylor said. “We think about it but it isn’t that big of a deal. It’s cool to be on the announcements at school for getting another record but it’s just another swim. The goal is to break more records and get faster times.ý

Many of those records that have gone by the wayside once belonged to DeKalb coach Marybeth McGill, Taylor’s mother. When McGill’s parents, Tom and Mary O’Brien come to a swim meet at DeKalb they still occupy the same spot they watched McGill from on the metallic-bench bleachers. They said Taylor has a swimming style similar to her mother’s. But now, she’s etched her name into the record boards.

So, does she own household bragging rights?

“It’s nice to break records especially when it’s mom because you can go home and say, ‘ha, I broke your record,’ý Taylor said with a grin. “But you don’t want to be cocky or rude.ý

Under McGill’s tutelage, the current team has DeKalb once again competing against the best swimmers in the state. And having both relay teams at the state meet gives the Barbs a huge edge. The individuals will benefit from more partisan crowd support and the team can lean on each other emotionally on the grandest stage.

“They’ve brought the program to a renewed level,ý McGill said. “My teams had all the records. We got third and fifth in state. We had good relays and some state champs. You don’t need 25 girls to do well but relays are a big bonus because you’ve got more people and more support there.ý

With the added, support Sycamore junior Casey Jepsen said she thinks the relay teams can advance to Saturday’s final 12. Jepsen said she will probably lead off the relay and can’t wait to face the competition; but with the usual caveat.

“You can’t get too cocky,ý Jepsen said in a familiar refrain. “If you do you think about winning and don’t try as hard as you can and end up losing. I think of the relay as my own race, it is just that people are now relying on me to swim well. It is also nice to have teammates there to back you up.ý

Even though Taylor and Casey Jepsen didn’t qualify for an individual event, they will be there to urge on Emily (50, 100 free) and Grace Waller (200 IM) in their events. Both Waller’s are also a part of the relay teams. For a group that let their actions do the talking, they will be in full throat in support of their teammates.

“A lot of teams have goals to get to state,ý McGill said. “But this team knows they have to do something. They back up their talk with hard work in the pool.ý

Hard work and humble talk, the refreshing recipe the relay teams rode to the State Meet.