Neuqua Valley High School Girls Swim 3:20 in 400 Yard Free Relay (Race Videos)

Neuqua Valley High School Virtual Dual Meet

Despite the training difficulties swimmers endured around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, 3 high school records fell in Naperville, Illinois today, just west of Chicago. Neuqua Valley High School warmed up with a virtual dual meet win, breaking 3 school records in the process, and went on to dominate sectionals all in the same week.

The meet marks the end of the girls’ high school modified season, which won’t have any state championship events, but instead is focused on smaller Sectionals meets.

Because of the lack of relays at the official sectionals meet, swimmers were allowed to enter up to 4 individual events.

In the virtual dual meet between NVHS and Waubonsie Valley High School, NVHS’s 400 free relay of Tiffanie Ruan, Megan Ciezczak, McKenna Stone, and Rachel Stege won in a time that both shatters the school record and ranks them 2nd among NCAA teams this season (3:20.65). The relay would place ahead of Georgia and right under Missouri (3:18.47).

The National public high school record in that event is a 3:15.38 done by Carmel High School in Indiana in 2015. That relay included Veronica Burchill, Claire Adams, Kendall Smith, and Amy Bilquist.

The same NVHS power quartet won the 200 free relay, touching the wall at 1:31.02:

  • Ruan – 23.75
  • Cziezczack – 22.82
  • Stone – 22.00
  • Stege – 22.45

They missed the National public high school record in this relay, also set by Carmel High School in 2015, by a mere .30 seconds. The Carmel relay team consisted of Burchill, Adams, Smith, and Trude Rothrock.

Stone, who has committed to Cal, is a recent addition to the NVHS team. She competed for Metea Valley High School last year where she was the state champion in the 100 fly. Stege has committed to Georgia, Ruan to SMU class of 2025, and Ciezczack to the University of Kentucky.

In long course, Stone and Stege are qualified to compete at the 2021 US Olympic Trials.

Last year’s DuPage Valley Conference (DVC) diving champion Jane Riehs also competed at the meet in the 1 meter event. She finished in 1st place with an overwhelming lead of 295.05 points and set a new school record.

Neuqua Valley High School girl’s swim and dive is coming off of 2 Illinois State Championship wins in 2018 and 2019, while the boy’s team placed 2nd both years.

Neuqua Valley went on to win their Sectionals meet a day later on Saturday at Matea Valley High School, where only individual events were contested. There they won all but one individual event at the meet.

Other standout swims from the virtual time trial:

  • Abby Jensen took 1st in the 50 free with a best time of 24.96. 3 events later she turned around and won the 100 free with a 1 second time drop, touching the wall at 53.75.
  • Sophie Meng broke the 1 minute barrier in the 100 back, touching 1st at 59.87, only .42 seconds off of her lifetime best.

Winners and standouts from sectionals:

  • McKenna Stone won 4 races, topping the 200 IM (2:00.75), 50 free (22.70), 100 fly (53.04), and 100 breast (1:01.77)  in timed finals competition. The meet was swum at her former home school. Neuqua Valley went 1-2 in that 50 free with Megan Ciezczak finishing 2nd in 22.75. Junior Annabel Olivo from West Aurora was 3rd in 23.69, which is a new best time for her by 4-tenths of a second.
  • Ciezczak won the 100 free in 50.42, followed by Ruan (51.22) and Olivo (51.43).
  • Rachel Stege picked up a pair of wins in the 200 free (1:46.40) and 500 free (4:40.3). Both times are faster than her state-title-winning swims from last November, and both are best times – including by almost 3 seconds in the 500 free.
  • The lone interloper to the Neuqua Valley sweep was Rosary senior Jess Geriane, who topped the 100 yard back in 54.77. She was the runner-up at last year’s Illinois State Championship meet and is committed to attend Notre Dame next fall.

Race Video: full livestream of girl’s IHSA Sectionals:

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About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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