Amelia Mariano

Lyons Township High School junior girls swimmer Amelia Mariano had concerns and remnants of a lingering cold before the IHSA Hinsdale Central Sectional on Nov. 5.

Her immediate family, uncle, cousins and grandma and a host of enthusiastic teammates provided the state-qualifying remedy for the 50-yard freestyle.

After missing state in 2021 by 0.27 seconds, Mariano advanced with 0.04 to spare.

“They were able to help me get through it and luckily I was able to squeeze by and make it,” Mariano said. 

The Lions advanced 11 qualifiers to the IHSA state meet on Nov. 11-12 in a strong second-place sectional performance (281 points) to the host Red Devils (299 points).

Every LTHS state qualifier posted a season-best performance.

“I am so proud of what the girls did under stressful qualifying conditions,” LTHS coach Scott Walker said. “We have a very young core with great senior leadership. To get these girls to state is like adding Miracle Gro to the program’s future success.”

The 200 free relay (Mariano, senior Maggie Adler, sophomore Audrey Cavaliere, senior Becky Phillips in 1:34.56) and 400 free relay (Adler, Cavaliere, sophomore Ella Jean Kelly, Phillips in 3:29.16) took first with pool records.

Maggie Adler

Phillips (100 free in 52.50) and sophomore Lindsay Forebaugh (100 butterfly in 56.83) were individual champions.

Qualifying by achieving state-qualifying standards were the second-place 200 medley relay (freshmen Kiley Thompson, Dylan Jorgensen, Forebaugh, Cavaliere in 1:46.79), second-place Adler (100 free in 52.60 and 200 free in 1:53.01) and fourth-place Phillips (200 individual medley in 2:08.04).

In the 50 free, second-place Cavaliere (23.56) and fourth-place Mariano (24.29) beat that 24.33 cut. Sixth-place junior diver Tess Walker (391.05 points) was the 26th of 32 advancing at-large divers.

“We didn’t really set expectations other than swim fast, get best times and race people. It was cool to see everybody qualify like they did,” Adler said.

The Lions have higher expectations for the state prelims on Nov. 11 at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont with hopes of top-12 times to reach the Nov. 12 championship (top 6) and consolation heats.

The 200 free relay had the No. 3 fastest sectional time, just .28 from the school record, and the 400 free was No. 4. Adler, Cavaliere, Forebaugh and the medley relay had top-15 sectional times.