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Dekalb Chronicle Article about HS Girls State Prelims

Powers, Launer pace Rosary in Day 1

By ERIC VAN DRIL - sports@daily-chronicle.com

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WINNETKA – For the Rosary girls swimming team, this seems familiar.

Rosary’s girls swimming team has won the IHSA state championship over the last three years and this year, the Beads have placed themselves in perfect position to win another title after dominating Friday’s preliminaries.

Rosary head coach Bill Schalz likes where his team stands. 

“Today is where you put yourself in position to win a trophy and I think we’re way ahead of them,” Schalz said of New Trier, Rosary’s strongest competition.

“Even in areas where it seemed like they gained, we picked up more. We’re in pretty good shape right now.”

Schalz received strong performances from nearly his entire team, but especially from senior Mackenzie Powers and sophomore Emily Launer. 

With Schalz’s decision to leave Launer off the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays – both of which she had swam throughout the season – the DeKalb resident was well rested for the grueling 500 freestyle. Schalz’s move paid dividends when Launer finished fourth, less than one second out of second place.
Launer scored more points for Rosary with an 11th-place finish in the 200 freestyle. 

Powers finished third overall in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while also swimming the opening leg of Rosary’s 2nd-place finish in the opening 200 medley relay. 

Like Schalz, Powers also felt there was room for improvement.

“I’m really excited about how the team did,” Powers, a Penn State-bound senior, said.  “But I think every individual person has things they have to work on.  We’ve swam against them (New Trier) at state before and we know they’re very tough competition.”

For Powers, a win at Saturday’s state meet would give each four trophies in four years of high school. Though Rosary was the class of Friday’s preliminaries, Schalz emphasized that his squad wasn’t satisfied with how they swam.

“This meet’s not over and the girls can’t get wrapped up in it,” Schalz said of their lead. “I look at those relays and I think we can win them.  I see a lot of areas where we could have been a lot better today and I think we’ll be better tomorrow.”

Sycamore High School’s Casey Jepsen, a member of the Sycamore-Dekalb co-op team, saw her season end Friday night. Jepsen finished 20th in the state in the 200 freestyle and a 15th in the 100 freestyle. Jepsen will swim at Truman State next year.