As a junior, freestyle sprinter Audrey Cavaliere finds herself the veteran state finals competitor for a young, but talented Lyons Township High School girls swimming and diving team.
“I think I have a better mindset, more confidence and hopefully getting faster,” Cavaliere said. “[Graduates Maggie Adler and Becky Phillips] were the two that kind of led last year. I would love to place top 16 [at state] in all of my races but just doing our best would be really exciting.”
Cavaliere, junior Ella Jean Kelly, senior Tess Walker and sophomores Kylie Thompson, Dylan Jorgensen and Lindsay Forebaugh return from the 2022 state-qualifying lineup, which earned the Lions their first top-six, first-team all-state finishes since 2019 and top-12 honorable mention all-state finishes.
Their annual home invitational is Saturday.
“We are a very young squad that received a great amount of experience from last year. We’re looking forward to putting the pieces of the puzzle together as the season goes on,” LTHS swim coach Scott Walker responded.
“This is an outstanding team that is committed and hard working. It should be a fun ride. We just need to focus on being a better person, teammate and swimmer than we were the day before.”
Cavaliere and Kelly were part of the all-state fifth-place 200-yard free relay (1:34.87) and sixth-place 400 free relay (3:28.55). In the consolation finals, the 200 medley relay with Thompson, Jorgensen, Forebaugh and Cavaliere was 11th (1:47.36).
In the state prelims, Cavaliere was 13th in the 50 free (23.58), .05 from 12th, Forebaugh was 14th in the 100 butterfly (57.22) and first-year diver Walker was 24th (192.90 points).
At 2021 state, Cavaliere was 10th with the 200 free relay.
Ellie Baum, Olivia Kowalczyk, Libby Langan, Grace Karan also return to the varsity lineup. Other returnees are Bebe Wright and Lauren Jablonski. Key newcomers include Maeve Collins, Brynn Krantz, Claire Collins and Kate Dillon.
“Last year was really fun and it was fun after season to continue working,” Cavaliere said. “We have a lot more individuals this year that can place top 16 (at state).”
The Lions finished third (342 points) at the Hinsdale Central Invitational Aug. 26 behind New Trier and Stevenson.
Maeve Collins (58.47) and Forebaugh (58.61) finished 2-3 in the 100 fly. Cavaliere (50 free in 24.58), Walker (208.20 points), the 200 free relay (Kelly, Maeve Collins, Jorgensen, Cavaliere in 1:38.87) and the 400 free relay (Maeve Collins, Thompson, Kelly, Cavaliere in 3:35.67) were third.