Wilmette, Sports

Star swimmers put on one more show before joining college programs

Behind senior performances, Wildcat Aquatics earns combined team title at Futures meet

The loudest swimmers in and out of the pool at the USA Swimming Futures Championship were from Evanston-based NASA Wildcat Aquatics.

And the connection of noise — literally on deck and figuratively in the results — was by design.

“The goal was to be the loudest team on deck. That was our main goal,” Wildcat coach Alessio De Rosi said. “It was our dream to win it as a team. I think they were correlated.”

Wildcat Aquatics, which comprises many current and former New Trier High School and Loyola Academy swimmers, won the overall (men’s and women’s) team title at the season-ending meet held July 27-30 in Minneapolis.

The local swim team brought 19 top swimmers to the Futures meet — one of five held nationwide — and took a bunch of hardware with them when they left.

Recent New Trier graduates Carly Novelline and Kaelyn Gridley — both individual IHSA champions during the school year — combined for seven individual titles to lead Wildcat Aquatics’ female contingent to a second-place finish, only behind Nebraska University.

Novelline won more individual Futures events (5) than any male or female in the country. She earned her 117 points thanks to wins in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, 50 and 100 freestyles, and 100 butterfly and a second-place finish in the 200 free.

Gridley took first place in the 100 and 200 breaststroke races and ninth in the 200 individual medley. The duo joined Alexis Wendel and Olivia Safraikova in winning the 400 medley relay by nearly eight seconds. Alexis Wendel added a fourth-place finish in the 200 fly and 10th place in 100 fly. Other Wildcat female swimmers were: Leslie Wendel (13th, 200 fly), Rose Jania (5th, 100 breaststroke; 9th, 200 free); Megan Marquard, Megan Meade and Jane Sanderson.

On the men’s side, Loyola Academy standouts led the charge. Andy Kelly finished with two seconds (200 back, 50 free), a third (100 back) and a ninth (100 free), while Lachlan Andrew had a third (50 free), a 10th (100 fly) and 12th (100 free). Aiden Musick added three top-10 finishes (5th, 100 fly; 6th, 200 fly; 8th, 200 free).

Musick, Kelly, Andrew and Stuart Timmerman won the 400 medley relay, while Musick, Kelly, Andrew and PJ Spagnolo won the 400 free relay.

The men also got top-10 finishes from Nikola Maruszewski (6th, 400 IM; 5th 200 breaststroke) and Sam Brown (10th, 100 breaststroke), as teammates Charles Bufton, Wilhelm Chaplin and Max Rice also chipped in for the third-place finishers.

The celebratory season finale was a proper way to end the season for De Rosi Wildcat Aquatics, which featured nine senior swimmers — including Novelline, Gridley, Sanderson and Kelly — headed for college in the fall.

“It was a lot of fun,” De Rosi said. “It’s hard to find words to describe the results. It’s emotional for me because we have swimmers who have been with us for the past nine years. It was emotional for sure.”

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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