November 21, 2009
DeKalb County duo helps Beads win fourth straight swimming title
By KEVIN DRULEY
WINNETKA – Mackenzie Powers and Emily Launer commute from
DeKalb to Aurora each day to attend Rosary High School, and
continue to grow fond of the long drive and each other.
"Having Emily in the car talking, it's not that bad," said Powers, a senior in her second year driving the sophomore Launer. "We get along great."
Swimming brought the two together years ago at the Kishwaukee YMCA. On Saturday, it united Powers and Launer again as they helped Rosary capture its fourth consecutive IHSA Girls Swimming and Diving state title.
A large contingent of Beads supporters yelled from the cozy bleachers at the New Trier natatorium as Rosary scored 177 points to comfortably defeat the runner-up Trevians (129). They watched Powers take third in the 100-meter butterfly and fourth in the 100 backstroke, then saw Launer shine in the freestyle; she finished third in the 200 and ninth in the 500.
"I love swimming for Rosary. The support we have as a team – not only among the teammates, but from the scool – is amazing," said Powers, a Penn State recruit. "If you look in the stands you see hundreds of fans. That's just awesome, the energy they bring and everything."
Rosary's DeKalb duo also harnessed that support in separate runner-up relay finishes. Powers was part of the Beads' second-place 200 medley team, while Launer swam a leg in the second-place 400 freestyle finish.
Beads coach Bill Schalz called Launer a "huge part of the future of the program," which will aim for its fifth successive title next year.
Powers will graduate alongside Olivia Scott, who set a state record in the 100 butterfly after winning the 200 individual medley. Scott also swam the anchor leg for Rosary's 200 freestyle relay champions.
"When Mackenzie and Olivia were swimming at sectionals and just doing what they do, just whupping up on everybody," Schalz said, "I just looked at one of my coaches and I said, 'Man, I'm going to miss those two.'"