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DeKalb chronicle Article about DCST / Rosary Swimmers

Beads carpool together

By JON STYF - jstyf@daily-chronicle.com

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SYCAMORE – Every weekday morning this fall, Emily Launer has gotten a ride to school from Mackenzie Powers.

It’s a 45-minute drive from Powers’ house in Sycamore to Rosary in Aurora – where the pair are swimmers – and most of the time the conversation turns to swimming.

But on Friday mornings, when they had to leave at 4:15 a.m. to get to the Beads’ early-morning practice, that changed.

“We talk a lot after school,” Powers said. “That early in the morning, it’s quiet.

“We just talk about what’s going on in life, which usually means swimming.”

Launer, a sophomore from DeKalb who is playing a more prominent in the Beads lineup this fall, can pick the brain of Powers, a senior who won the state title last year in the 100 butterfly and recently signed to swim in college at Penn State.

In three seasons with the Beads, Powers has been on three straight state championship teams.

This weekend at Winnetka New Trier, she hopes to make it a clean sweep.

“I definitely want to final in all my events, then see what happens,” Powers said. “We’re going for another win, and we want to get everyone into finals to do that.”

Last weekend, the Beads won 10 of the 12 events at their sectional meet.

“If we win this state meet we’ll have won four in a row – I don’t think of it that way,” Rosary coach Bill Schalz said. “If I start thinking all that then I’ll lose focus. My focus is here’s how fast this swimmer is and here’s how fast we need her to get.

“Afterwards, if we’re fortunate enough to win this fourth title, then sure I’ll look back on it for Rosary High School. For a small Catholic school that doesn’t have it’s own pool to win four state titles is a huge accomplishment.”

Powers was first in the 100 backstroke (57.93 seconds) and second to teammate Olivia Scott in the butterfly (56.7 seconds) along with being part of the victorious 200 medley relay team.

Launer, who took over as the Beads’ top distance freestyle swimmer when Kally Fayhee graduated, won the 500 freestyle (5:03.82) and 200 freestyle (1:55.29) along with swimming on the victorious 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.

“Mackenzie has always been up there in the top, so she knows how to deal with it,” Launer said. “I’m one to get nervous. Since this is going to be her fourth year, it’s really helpful that she can give me lots of good advice.”

Both swimmers grew up swimming with the DeKalb County Swim Team at Kishwaukee YMCA under coaches Brian Bickner and Beth Marchewka.

Now, they are able to use those skills, along with skill learned from Schalz, to compete on the highest level.

“We have a lot of fun together,” Launer said. “She’s a really fast swimmer, it’s something to aspire to be like her.”