A young swimmer made a very big splash in a very old pool last week.
Lyons Township freshman Sarah Norris had a big day Friday winning the 200-yard individual medley, the 100-yard backstroke and swimming on two winning relays as LT opened its conference season with an easy 110-76 dual meet win over host Oak Park.
The Oak Park pool was built in 1927 and the freshman enjoyed the cramped, cozy, some would say stifling, atmosphere.
“I have this thing where some pools work and some pools don’t and I just felt I was able to grab the water more in this pool and I was just able to flow,” said Norris.
She really flowed in the individual medley, a race she has just begun concentrating on, winning by more than four seconds.
“I started swimming the IM in June when I went to the Iowa State swim camp,” said Norris. “It was all a technique camp and they helped me improve my butterfly and my breaststroke. I couldn’t swim those very well. This is really the first season that I’ve gotten serious about IM. I’m enjoying the IM. I’m finding I can get better and specialize in the IM as well as my backstroke.”
Norris was very pleased with her winning time of 2:17.75 in the IM which was a personal best by three seconds and was less than four seconds off the state qualifying standard of 2:13.99.
Norris easily won the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.76 which is less than a second off the State qualifying mark of 1:01.29. She has serious goals for the backstroke and is working on her technique to make it happen.
“I’m working on my rolling so hopefully I’ll be able to go under a minute this season,” Norris said.
Norris is making a smooth transition from age group to high school competition.
“It’s very different because in age group you’re broken down by 11-12, 13-14, and now you’re swimming with even seniors and, being a freshman, that’s a lot of pressure,” said Norris. “You want to keep up with them and if you don’t you get frustrated, but you just have to work at it.”
Norris expects success and her coach predicts big things from her in the future.
“She gets a little impatient because she wants and wants,” said LT coach Scott Walker. “She’s never trained this hard before. Her body is going to have to get used to the training.”
LT dominated the meet winning all but three events.
Senior Ashley Cusack won the 200 free in 1:58.52, the 100 free in :54.92 and anchored the Lions winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Junior Megan Kono finished second behind Cusack in the 200 free with a time of 2:02.91 and won the 500 free in 5:22.98 and also swam on both winning freestyle relays.
Freshman Meg Vertovec won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:04.34, swam the butterfly leg on the winning 200 medley relay and finished fourth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:09.75.
Senior Lauren Swanson swam on all three winning relays and was nosed out in a close finish by Oak Park’s Megan Rigali in 100 breaststroke. Swanson finished second in 1:14.57 only .32 behind Rigali.
Sophomore Katherine Butler finished second in the 50 free with a time of 26.33 seconds, losing to Oak Park senior Emily Japlon. Butler anchored the winning medley relay to open the meet and also swam a leg on the winning 200 freestyle relay.
Walker was happy with his team’s performance especially after losing to defending State champion Naperville Central 94-76 earlier in the week in the Lions’ first dual meet of the season.
“It seem like we swam with a little more fire today than against Naperville Central,” Walker said. “You can see growth on this team every day.”