The Riverside-Brookfield High School girls swimming varsity squad looks like it might have several state-qualifying contenders once the IHSA swimming sectionals roll around in mid-November.
RBHS defeated visiting Morris 129-53 last week in a nonconference dual meet. The Bulldogs’ junior varsity also cruised to a 127-38 victory securing a sweep of the Redskins.
“We’ve been training a lot this season,” RBHS senior Sydney Veon said. “[RBHS coach] Heather [Mathis] gives us harder practices now so that we’ll have a good taper for later on in the season. We’re more focused on getting to the sectional meet and [then] getting to the state meet.”
The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Veon, Dana Callanan, Julia Keller and Hannah Flynn earned first place (3:59.43) against Morris. Although the Bulldogs’ top 400 free team touched the wall 34 seconds before the Redskins, Callanan believes the Bulldogs are capable of faster teams later in the season, particularly the playoffs.
“This might not have been our best relay,” Callanan said, “At this point in the season, we aren’t too worried about it.”
Veon clocked in at 2:08.02 to take first in the 200-yard freestyle, with Callanan close behind at 2:08.83. Veon also placed first in the 500-yard freestyle (5:56.77). Although she usually competes in sprint events, Veon fared surprisingly well in the long distance race.
“I’m not much of a distance swimmer; I’m definitely more of a sprinter,” she said. “During these dual meets, we do different events to have fun and see how we can broaden our horizons since we do our main events at invites.”
In the 100-yard breaststroke, Callanan touched the wall at 1:23.42 to claim top honors, edging out teammate Eleni Collis (1:24.10).
“[Nonconference dual meets] aren’t always our best,” Callanan said “Even if I don’t do well, it doesn’t worry me. It’s not that these events don’t matter, but I know that my main events like conference duals and the sectional are the most important ones.”
The Bulldogs’ chemistry has played a major role in the team’s success this fall. Both the RBHS varsity and junior varsity teams are 3-2 on the season, with the varsity squad taking fourth place at the RBHS Invite on Sept. 21.
“We definitely do a lot of team bonding,” Callanan said. “Strengthening our relays is a huge part of forming as a team. We don’t just focus on ourselves, we really push each other.”
Teammates challenge each other to reach new heights in a variety of ways. For example, Veon has been pushing Flynn to break the RBHS breaststroke record that the former set when she was a sophomore.
“Our plan is to push each other during our stroke sets in practice,” Veon said. “We just build on each other. Hannah helps me and I help her.”
The Bulldogs’ next home meet is Tuesday, Oct. 22 against Plainfield Co-op at 5 p.m. RBHS is also looking forward to hosting the Independent Conference Meet on Saturday, Nov. 2.