Sophomore Kylie Thompson and her Lyons Township High School girls swimming and diving teammates learned quickly this could be a special season.
The Lions edged rival Hinsdale Central 99-87 in their Sept. 8 dual for an early but huge step towards their first West Suburban Conference Silver Division title since 2018.
“I think we always knew that we had depth on the team but after we won against Hinsdale Central, we really were like, ‘We could win this,’” Thompson said.
The Lions settled matters for good Friday.
They won the Silver Meet 315-292 over the second-place Red Devils to claim the overall title outright.
Silver champions were Ella Jean Kelly (100 free in 53.38), Maeve Collins (100 butterfly in 58.49), Claire Collins (100 breast stroke in 1:06.33), the 200 free relay of Audrey Cavaliere, Maeve Collins, Libby Langan and Kelly (1:37.56), 200 medley relay of Thompson, Lauren Jablonski, Maeve Collins and Cavaliere (1:47.91) and 400 free relay of Cavaliere, Langan, Thompson and Kelly (3:33.46).
“Honestly, it was a big thing to win. To win and in our own sanctuary, it was really fun. Everyone on the deck was unbelievable,” said Thompson, among many returning 2022 state qualifiers.
“It is different (than last year) but I think that as a team we’re just getting better and better with more depth and more people coming in. I’m excited to see what in future years we can do as well.”
The overall Silver title is based on dual and Silver Meet results. The Lions and four-time defending champion Hinsdale Central would have shared the overall title if the Red Devils won Friday with LTHS second.
The Lions appear on the verge of an even better postseason when they visit Hinsdale Central for sectionals Nov. 4.
“The kids swam well. Our varsity swam perfectly where we should be for this time of the season,” LTHS coach Scott Walker said. “You don’t want them swimming too fast because that means we’re not ready (to peak) for the sectional and state. They did what they had to do in order to win it outright. That really is a cool thing to win conference – in this conference.”
Depth again made a significant difference for the Lions.
In individual events, they finished 1-2 in the 100 fly with Maeve Collins and Forebaugh (58.49), 1-3 in the 100 breast with Claire Collins and Jablonski (1:10.46), 1-4 in the 100 free with Kelly and Cavaliere (53.94), 2-3 in the 500 free with Thompson (5:15.32) and Forebaugh (5:15.92), 2-4 in the 200 individual medley with Claire Collins (2:13.31) and Grace Karan (2:14.92) and 3-4 in the 100 backstroke with Olivia Kowalczyk (1:01.38) and Ellie Baum (1:01.78)
Also taking third were diver Tess Walker (378.20 points) and Langan (200 free in 1:58.91).
“Definitely winning conference gave us that confidence boost for sectionals and state so I’m excited to see what we can do,” Thompson said.
At sectionals, event champions automatically advance to state as well as entries that achieve state-qualifying standards at the event and divers among the 32 highest remaining scores.
As an early indication of the Lions’ potential training taper, their rested junior varsity lineup was second to Hinsdale Central with several significant time drops.
“That is extremely powerful to (the varsity) to see what they can be in the next couple of weeks,” Walker said. “To be able to see kids drop (time) and swim that fast, that gets them anxious and confident.”