Young breaks through, sweeps girls swimming city titles; 13 entries qualify for state meet

By Michael Wojtychiw

Isabella Chow’s brother, Kale, spent all of last year with bragging rights. Kale had a standout freshman season on varsity, which included a pool record in the 500-yard freestyle at the city championships. In the meantime, Isabella was swimming on the sophomore level after transferring from Kenwood to Young. Isabella had a standout freshman season herself, finishing sixth at the state meet in the 50-yard freestyle two years ago.

After the city championships on Oct. 28, there’s a new person with bragging rights in the Chow household, as Isabella set the city meet record with a time of 2:07.41 in the 200-yard Individual Medley and 55.64 in the 100-yard butterfly.

“I don’t get bullied by my brother now,” she said. “He swam varsity last year and keeps telling me I fell off because i didn’t swim varsity last year. But he can’t talk smack anymore.

“I didn’t even think about a record, I was just thinking about swimming it and that’s all I did. This was definitely a lot different than swimming on the JV level, but the team has been great, so it makes it more fun.”

Chow’s two events were two of the Dolphins’ seven event winners, all of which helped Young knock off Lane 314-283, ending the Champions’ four-year reign as city champions.

“During the IM, I was definitely nervous, but I tried to focus on my underwaters,” Chow said. “I also tried getting out faster so i tried getting out faster in the fly and back.”

“We’ve lost the last handful of years, so for the girls to do this, this was big, especially for the senior,” Young coach Gerald Winston said. “Tp do it at home, with the fans, it’s a big advantage. We’re happy to celebrate with them.”

Young’s other winners included the 200-yard freestyle relay, Brooke Whitt, 200-yard freestyle relay, Jaslyn Wu and 400-yard freestyle relay.

The meet also saw four total championship meet records broken and also a league record broken as well.

Young, which swept all three relays, set a new record in the 200-yard freestyle relay. smashing the record by a full second and Taft’s Kayla Duran broke her own meet record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.82. The Dolphins’ relay record time of 1:38.04 broke a CPL league record by .15.

“It was nice to see the girls setting records because the varsity isn’t tapered yet,” Winston said. “To see these times without being tapered, we’re very excited for what’s to come.”

For Winston, the championship has been a long-time coming and something he and his staff are happy to finally see come to fruition.

“the girls resolve really helped them,” he said. “They were really focused this year and wanted to win, so it’s all them. All I did was open the pool. They came in and did all the work. But it was that focus and really wanting to win.”

CPL swimmers didn’t only have a successful city championships on the 28th, but also put together an impressive performance at their respective sectional meets Nov. 4. The CPL will be represented by 13 entries from Lane, Young and Taft at this weekend’s state meet.

Below are winners from the city championship meet, as well as the state qualifiers.

Congratulations to all of our swimmers and good luck to our qualifiers at this weekend’s state meet!

City championships

Diving: Marina Spera, Lane – 347.4 points

200-yard medley relay: Young (Jaslyn Wu, Eliana King, Madison Hurt, Jillian Drake) – 1:50.58

200-yard freestyle: Brooke Whitt, Young – 1:58.46

200-yard individual medley: Chow – 2:07.41*

50-yard freestyle: Kasia Parera, Taft – 24.93

100-yard butterfly: Chow – 55.64*

100-yard freestyle: Parera, 54.57

500-yard freestyle: Layla Miglietta, Lane – 5:16.52

200-yard freestyle relay: Young (Drake, Grace Chin, Wu, Chow) – 1:38.04*&

100-yard backstroke: Wu, 1:00.51

100-yard breaststroke: Kayla Duran, Taft – 1:02.82*

400-yard freestyle relay: Young (Chow, Chinn, Whitt, Drake) – 3:38.43

* City meet record

& CPL League record

State Qualifiers

200-yard medley relay: Young; Lane

200-yard freestyle: Layla Miglietta, Lane

50-yard freestyle: Isabella Chow, Young

100-yard butterfly: Grace McCracken, Lane

100-yard freestyle: Chow; Taryn Hickey, Lane

500-yard freestyle: Miglietta; Isabella Gronowski, Lane

200-yard freestyle relay: Lane

100-yard breaststroke: Kayla Duran, Taft; Eliana King, Young; Brooke Whitt, Young

Lane’s Spera brings home diving title

By Marcus Wilson

After a long day of classes, most students look forward to going home. For some, it’s a chance to grab a snack and unwind, but for Lane Tech junior Marina Spera, the end of the school day is when her work begins. 

The Lane campus doesn’t have a regulation diving pool to practice at, so the diving team has to get creative. Some days, Spera takes an hour-long bus to work on her skills at the University of Illinois-Chicago. It’s not ideal, but what it takes to participate in the sport she loves. 

“Time is short, but I make the most of it,” Spera explained. “I do a lot of studying in the car and bus, sometimes eating dinner when my parents pick me up to bring me home. Making the most of my transit is key, so I’m not staying up too late.” 

Throughout this process, Marina has not only maintained straight A’s and become proficient in time management, but gained a proficiency in diving as well, culminating in capturing this year’s Varsity girls city title championship. 

Spera says she never even touched a diving board until two weeks before her freshman year. A failed tryout for the swim team and her mother’s encouragement brought her to the sport of diving, with the bonds and relationships formed with her teammates inspiring her to stick with it and improve year over year. 

In the city championship meet, Spera executed 11 dives, earning a total score of 347.4. She completed the highest-scoring dive on the day, a 2.2 difficulty forward 2 somersault, which tallied 38.5 points. 

After Marina’s triumph, Lane Tech head diving coach Alyssa Spera, gave all the recognition to her daughter, reminiscing on the complete effort that went into this season. 

“She had a personal best today by about fifty points,” Alyssa said. “[Marinna] worked so hard for this and deserves all the credit. She decided she wanted to win and went out to do the work to get it done.” 

When the time came to celebrate the city championship, it took everything from Marinna and her mother to hold back tears. 

“I was about to cry,” Marinna stated. “I saw my mom with the blue ribbon, and I knew that meant I finished first and she was real emotional too. A lot of work went into this season, and I’m just glad it all paid off.” 

Much like the Varsity city champion, sophomore champion Madeline Bussell was new to the sport as a freshman this season. The Jones/Payton first-year diver says she just began practicing in March, but brought with her years of experience learned in gymnastics. 

Coming into her first city finals meet, Madeline says she emphasized her concentration, needing to keep a calm head no matter what happened. 

“I was focused on myself and not the competition,” Bussell said. “I always find having a good mindset coming into a meet is best because that gets reflected in my dives.” 

Bussell not only kept her cool, but delivered a championship-level performance, scoring 171.9 points in six dives. 

This competition also allowed her to earn a little redemption. In a previous meet, Madeline could not complete her front 2 somersault, landing on her back. After a lot of practice, this meet she performed it exceptionally, sticking the landing and earning 33 points. 

Though this championship came as a surprise to Bussell, to her it’s a reflection of how far she’s come.

“I was not expecting to win today because I’m still technically a beginner,” she said. “It feels nice to know I’ve improved so much and found success this early.” 

Jones/Payton coach Garrett Smith knows he has a lot to look forward to with Madeline on his team. 

“She’s fearless,” he said. “She’s not afraid to try things, and that’s allowed her to excel early. I’m so excited for the next three years coaching her.”

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