The Lyons Township High School girls swimming team lost 97-89 in a close dual meet against host Oak Park and River Forest last week.
That meet was a mini-preview of the conference meet because OPRF and LTHS are likely to be the top contenders for the title. The conference meet and regular season duals each count 50 percent toward the final standings.
“It was pretty close, which we thought it was going to be,” LTHS coach Kurt Johns said. “Oak Park has some really solid swimmers in Hanna Blankemeier and Genevieve Curry and Natalie Ungaretti.
“We knew that every point was going to matter, that we might not win even if we swam our best.”
It was the first Silver dual loss for the Lions, who ended Hinsdale Central’s 10-year reign atop the Silver by winning the league title in 2012 and 2013 before Downers North took it last year.
Sydney Hansen and Molly Regan finished first and second, respectively, in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Lilly Stotz and Alexandra Scotty went 1-2 in diving and the Lions captured the 400 freestyle relay thanks to Hannah Good, Marissa Kral, Annie Naughton and Grace Siegelman.
But OPRF swept the other events, including the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay, where the Huskies have the top times in the state this year.
The Huskies’ medley squad of Blankemeier, Alexandra Gill, Samantha Neilson and Katherine Girardot won in 1:51.02, while the 200 free quartet of Girardot, Curry, Neilson and Ungaretti prevailed in 1:39.92, four seconds faster than LTHS.
Blankemeier, a returning state medalist in the 50 free and 100 free, cruised to victory in the 200 free and 500 free, while Ungaretti captured the 50 free and 100 free and Neilson took the 100 backstroke.
While LTHS won’t be in the trophy hunt at state, the Lions have a solid group of swimmers and plenty of competition for sectional spots.
Johns likely won’t set his sectional lineup until after the conference meet, meaning the Lions will be competing for more than just individual glory on Oct. 31.
“We’re just trying to figure out what we have,” Johns said. “We could have seven or eight different sectional lineups because there is so much depth.
“There’s a lot of options, which is a good problem to have, but it’s also a bad problem because it makes it tougher on me.”
The only sure thing is that LTHS will be led by Mackenna Dunn and Maeve Swinehart, both of whom could be four-event swimmers at sectionals. Kral and Mary Kate Gannon also could contend.