Swimming is exhausting — and so are swim meets.
The IHSA state finals, for instance, covered eight hours on Saturday, Nov. 11. With award presentations and mid-meet breaks spliced between the events, swimmers can wait hours before their time to shine.
New Trier High School earned much of its success in the final four events — with two swimmers (Megan Marquardt and Marin Shimkus) competing in three events each — en route to a second-place team finish on Saturday at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont.
The Trevians ability to succeed late in the long day was just one point of pride for coach Mac Guy.
“We’ve all been in the pool for about eight hours. That they’re still compete at such a high level is pretty amazing,” he said.
New Trier finished its day with a second-place result in the 400-yard freestyle relay (Shimkus, Marquardt, Zara Bolton, Maeve O’Donnell) just behind Rosary, which punctuated its state championship with the event victory.
Rosary swimmers won two relays and three other events en route to 243 team points, enough to earn the program’s eighth state championship (last in 2018) and snap the Trevians’ streak of two straight titles.
New Trier racked up 204 points to secure the runnerup spot, the 14th second-place finish for the program, which also has 16 state titles.
Rosary’s point total is the most in the history of the state finals, and the Trevians’ 204 points are the most ever for a second-place finisher. The elevated scoring is the result of a bump in points per event caused by an increase in the number of placers (from 12 to 16).
Stevenson (182), Lyons Township (156) and Hinsdale Central (144) rounded out the top five.
The Trevians began their quest for a third straight championship on the highest of notes, winning the 200 medley relay with a time of 1 minute 42.04 seconds. It was New Trier’s fourth straight state championship in the event.
Marquardt, a senior, anchored the winning relay that also featured Shimkus, senior Madelyn Ohr and junior Zara Bolton and bested Rosary’s quartet by 0.3 seconds.
“It really means everything,” Marquardt said of going out a state champion. “Over the last four years, I have loved being a part of this program. We have kind of dominated the medley relay over the last four years. And it was awesome to anchor it and bring it home and win it for the team. It was an intense race … and we came out on top.”
After the championship swim, Marquardt turned into a cheerleader and spectator for hours. The senior’s next swim wasn’t until the back half of the meet, when she competed in three out of the final four events.
Marquardt helped the Trevians to a runnerup finish in the 400 free relay and fourth place in 200 free relay and added a 15th place result in the 100 backstroke in between.
“It can be grueling,” Marquardt said. “… But at the end, at least for me, the last event (400 free relay) is pure adrenaline. We just want to do it for the team. We had one more race to fight and just give it our all.”
Marquardt joined Shimkus, Bolton and Maeve O’Donnell in the runnerup 400 free relay, and Elyse Newlands, Bolton and O’Donnell in the 200 free relay. The 200 free quartet set the school record with their preliminary time of 1:34.19.
In between, the Trevians put together a number of All-State finishes, highlighted by Bolton’s third-place swim in the 100 butterfly. Her time of 54.38 seconds set a new program record, besting Alexis Wendel’s 2021 time of 54.85. Guy said Bolton’s split in the 200 medley relay was also special, and possibly another program record.
“She was on fire; she was unbelievable,” he said.
O’Donnell, another junior, finished third in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free; Shimkus placed third in the 100 backstroke and 11th in the 50 free; Newlands was 11th in the 100 breaststroke and 11th in the 200 individual medley; Ohr took 13th in the individual medley; and senior Lila Novelline 12th in the diving competition.
New Trier began the weekend with the most state qualifiers of any team in the field, quite an accomplishment to Guy, who said that the Trevians brought a relatively inexperienced group to state.
While Marquardt, Newlands and Bolton competed in relays at last year’s state finals, the Trevians returned just one individual point (Newlands) from the 2022 state championship lineup.
“For us to even be in the mix with a team like (Rosary) and a team like Stevenson, who is incredibly deep, was really incredible given that none of our athletes except for one had finaled at a state meet before,” Guy said. “Given that Marin, Zara and Maeve all made it back to top eight … was so amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team that made such a significant progression so fast. It was wild.”
Loyola Academy was also well represented in the state finals.
Senior Greta Kavanagh completed a perfect diving season by earning the state championship. (Story coming on Tuesday, Nov. 14.) Junior Reilly O’Hara placed 11th in the 500 free and 15th in the 200 free, while junior Maria Cheng placed sixth in the 100 backstroke.
Cheng, Georgia Andrew, Gabriela Simon and Sophia Friestedt finished 13th in the 200 medley relay.
Highland Park freshman Brooke Eliacin made an impact in her first state finals appearance, placing fifth in the 100 breaststroke and 13th in the 50 free.
The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.
Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.
Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.