Rosary Wins 3rd Straight Illinois Title; State Record Falls in Finals


  • Prelims Friday, November 17th
  • Finals Saturday, November 18th
  • New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL)
  • Results (also available on MeetMobile)

Final Team Scores (Top 10)

  1. Rosary – 169
  2. Oswego East – 138.5
  3. St. Charles North – 108
  4. Normal Community – 104
  5. New Trier – 94
  6. Lyons – 84
  7. Neuqua Valley – 79
  8. Metea Valley – 62
  9. Dunlap – 48
  10. Barrington – 37

Rosary picked up its 3rd straight IHSA girls state title on Saturday, November 18th. They scored 11 points less than they did in last year’s victory, and only won one event (200 medley relay), but still won by over 30. Oswego East came in 2nd, and had the most 1st place finishes (4).

Finals Event Recap:

200 Medley Relay

  1. Rosary – 1:43.15
  2. St. Charles North – 1:43.67
  3. Normal Community – 1:44.17
  4. Neuqua Valley – 1:44.20
  5. New Trier – 1:44.34
  6. Lyons – 1:44.41

The Rosary team of Athena Ye (25.46), Izzy Pytel (29.46), Camryn Streid (25.04), and Emily Ryan (23.19) backed up their prelims performance by winning the event, but went nearly half a second slower than they did in prelims (1:42.77). St. Charles North was the only team in the Championship field to drop time from their prelims race, going 1:43.67 for 2nd place, compared to 1:43.91 for 5th in prelims. The race for 3rd place was very tight, with Normal Community coming out on top, only .24 seconds faster than 6th place. Grace Ariola shaved a little time off her prelims split of 24.50 by going 24.45, leading the backstroke field by 1.01 seconds.

200 Free

  1. Melissa Pish (Normal West)/Georgia White (Oswego) – 1:47.13
  2. Anne Tavierne (Rosary) – 1:49.52
  3. Audrey Guyett (St. Charles North) – 1:49.98
  4. Macy Rink (Bloomington) – 1:50.38
  5. Iza Pelka (Stevenson) – 1:50.52

The showdown between IHSA record-holder Georgia White, and ISI record-holder (LCM) Melissa Pish ended in a tie at 1:47.13. Pish had a slight lead at the 50 mark, 24.92 to White’s 25.01, then White took the lead for the during the middle 100, out-splitting Pish 53.95 to 54.66. On the last 50, Melissa Pish roared home in 27.55 to catch Georgia White, who split 28.17, and reach her hand on the wall for the tie. The time was about half a second off the IHSA record of 1:46.69.

200 IM

  1. Ema Rajic (Urbana University High) – 2:00.74
  2. Annika Wagner (Maine South) – 2:01.30
  3. Valerie Tazari (Crystal Lake) – 2:01.52
  4. Sydney VanOvermeiren (Rosary) – 2:02.35
  5. Callahan Dunn (Lyons) – 2:02.56
  6. Mari Kraus (Oswego) – 2:03.15

Ema Rajic came back from a 4th place prelims finish to defend her 200 IM title. Rajic came in close to half a second off her IHSA record set last year, but still posted her 3rd fastest time ever. Rajic had a huge breaststroke split, 33.98, which led the field by over half a second. Rajic was also the only girl in the field to drop time from her prelims race. Maine South Sophomore Annika Wagner posted her 2nd fastest time ever to come in 2nd. Noelle Peplowski (Metamora) came in 7th for the 4th year in a row, posting a 2:02.73.

50 Free

  1. Grace Ariola (Normal Community) – 22.52
  2. Grace Cooper (Oswego) – 22.67
  3.  Natalie Ungaretti (Oak Park) – 23.06
  4. Athena Ye (Rosary) – 23.17
  5. McKenna Stone (Metea Valley) – 23.29
  6. Elizabeth Sowards (Dunlap) – 23.53

Grace Ariola took the 50 in a tight race with Grace Cooper. Those times were also both Ariola And Cooper’s second fastest times ever. Grace Ariola was off her personal best of 22.20. Natalie Ungaretti dropped a place from prelims and overtook Athena Ye to get 3rd.


  1. Jessie Creed (New Trier) – 479.10
  2. Katie Lipsey (New Trier) – 436.50
  3. Ally Landis (Vernon Hills) – 426.15
  4. Dana Siverly (Normal U-High) – 418.25
  5. Abigail Hellinga (Hononegah) – 411.20
  6. Lizzie Rumsey (Champaign Centennial) – 409.45

Defending Champ Jessie Creed expanded her lead in the finals session to claim victory. Creed held a decent lead the whole way through the diving competition. Fellow New Trier teammate, Katie Lipsey came in 2nd, and both girls will be back next year, so they are already the names to beat heading into 2018. The score got progressively tighter from the top down, with 43 points separating 1st and 2nd, and less than 2 separating 5th and 6th.

100 Fly

  1. Emma Theobald (Dunlap) – 54.61
  2. Julia Heimstead (Normal Community) – 55.05
  3. Camryn Streid (Rosary) – 55.32
  4. Anna Gruvberger (Hinsdale Central) – 55.43
  5. Mallory Jump (St. Charles North) – 55.65
  6. Lindsey Merk (Lockport) – 55.66

Emma Theobald went her 2nd fastest time ever to win the 100 fly by almost half a second. Julia Heimstead went her 3rd fastest time ever to take 2nd, and defending champ Camryn Streid went almost the exact same time as last year to take 3rd. Emma Theobald and Camryn Streid are the only girls who do not return to IHSA next year.

100 Free

  1. Grace Cooper (Oswego) – 49.91
  2. Georgia White (Oswego) – 50.01
  3. Kate Morris (Glenbard) – 50.33
  4. Natalie Ungaretti (Oak Park) – 50.34
  5. Annika Wagner (Maine South) – 50.60
  6. McKenna Stone (Metea Valley) – 50.68

Grace Cooper added a little time from her prelims performance of 49.60, but managed to hold of her teammate, Georgia White by 1 tenth of a second. Notably, Grace Cooper and Kate Morris were the only 2 girls in this final not to drop time from prelims, making the 100 free the event with the most time drops in finals. Also of note, Georgia white is the only swimmer who will not be returning to IHSA next year, which sets up a very tight 100 free for next year already.

500 Free

  1. Melissa Pish (Normal West) – 4:49.25
  2. Callahan Dunn (Lyons) – 4:53.09
  3. Audrey Guyett – 4:54.89
  4. Maggie Emary (Barrington) – 4:55.57
  5. Anne Tavierne (Rosary) – 4:57.71
  6. Mari Kraus (Oswego) – 5:07.28

Melissa Pish controlled the race from the very 1st 50, taking it out nearly a second faster than the next fastest split in the field. While her time was over 5 seconds off her personal best, and 2 and a half seconds off the IHSA record, Pish still won the race by 4 seconds. With 4 Seniors in the field, Sophomore Callahan Dunn sets her self up to be the favorite heading into next season.

200 Free Relay

  1. Oswego – 1:33.58
  2. Rosary – 1:33.66
  3. Neuqua Valley – 1:33.90
  4. Lyons – 1:34.82
  5. Metea Valley – 1:35.03
  6. St. Charles North – 1:35.40

Oswego and Rosary both added time from their prelims performances, and interestingly, Oswego added more time than Rosary but still managed to win the event. The Neuqua Valley team made up of 3 Freshmen (Tiffanie Ruan, Rachel Stege, and Megan Ciezczak) held on to 3rd place, dropping .12 seconds from prelims. The other member of that relay, Kristen Stege, is a Junior, so the entire relay will be back next year.

100 Back

  1. Grace Ariola (Normal Community) – 53.29
  2. Shannon Kearney (Loyola) – 53.90
  3. Brooke West (Fenwick) – 55.36
  4. Ashley Carollo (Stevenson) – 55.84
  5. Grace Prendergast (Lyons) – 55.85
  6. Emma Theobald (Dunlap) – 56.04

As expected, Grace Ariola won the event pretty convincingly. That time was only .25 seconds off Ariola’s best time ever. Shannon Kearney had a huge race, dropping over half a second from the lifetime best she went in prelims. Megan Armstrong (St. Charles North) took 7th with a 55.35, which would have been good for 3rd.

100 Breast

  1. Ema Rajic (Urbana University) – 1:01.35
  2. Valerie Tazari (Crystal Lake) – 1:02.20
  3. Noelle Peplowski (Metamora) – 1:02.30
  4. Maxine Parkinson (Neuqua Valley) – 1:03.21
  5. Sydney Colburn (Deerfield) – 1:03.50
  6. Ally Penrod (Barrington) – 1:04.44

Ema Rajic defended her state title in the race between the last 3 IHSA 100 breast champions. Rajic took the event almost half a second slower than her IHSA record performance of 1:00.77 last year. Valerie Tazari and Ema Rajic had the exact same split on the 1st 50 (28.88), but Rajic was able to come home considerably faster, leaving Tazari in 2nd. Noelle Peplowski came in 3rd, dropping .09 seconds from her prelims performance.

400 Free Relay

  1. Oswego – 3:22.48
  2. Normal Community – 3:25.51
  3. Rosary – 3:26.08
  4. New Trier – 3:26.93
  5. St. Charles North – 3:28.76
  6. Metea Valley – 3:29.29

Oswego managed to lower the state record they set in prelims (3:22.63). The team of Grace Cooper (49.88), Mari Kraus (50.60), Emily Giles (52.28), and Georgia White (49.72) managed to knock another .15 seconds off the record. The Normal Community team of Grace Ariola (48.87), Claire Koh (53.78), Ashley Bengtson (52.83), and Julia Heimstead (50.01) managed to overtake Rosary in finals. Ariola’s lead-off split was the fastest of the field by far and was a best time for her by a tenth of a second.

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Swim mom 2
3 years ago

Great meet, crappy pool, horrible facilities. Illinois swimmers deserve better. So do the parents, fans and other spectators.

Reply to  Swim mom 2
3 years ago

You say that, but most swimmers would take swimming in a slow pool with one of the best atmospheres ever over a better pool anyday.

Reply to  Butterpeanut
3 years ago

Couldn’t disagree more! Give those kids a better pool with a cool down pool than they have a shot at swimming fast (two days in a row)… They deserve it! Hard to compete at this level in a facility that old… Crappy pool to say the least – horrible for spectators – no space on deck for swimmers/coaches. IHSA: time to change!!

Club Coach Dan
Reply to  Butterpeanut
3 years ago

I’m assuming you did a poll of all the swimmers to come up with your conclusion. I feel silly for believing that swimmers like to swim as fast as possible, cool down after swims, sit in a reasonable amount of space, and take advantage of modern facilities like most other states. I’m glad you corrected me on this and i will start seeking out more outdated pools for my kids to swim at and just tell them to enjoy atmosphere. I’m not sure how Ariola is going to swim fast in the subpar conditions down in Austin.

Reply to  Club Coach Dan
3 years ago

Maybe I was a bit general. Speaking from experience and the experience of my peers, there was nothing like the IHSA state meet. Yea it was a bit slow, but it was the most exciting/fun/intense meet myself and many others had been part of, including college conference/NCAA meets, Olympic trials, etc. In retrospect, I wouldn’t change it for anything but would it be nice if we could replicate the atmosphere w/ better facilities? Of course. In the moment did I wish i had a warm down pool at New trier? Absolutely.

Reply to  ButterPeanut
3 years ago

Butterpeanut: I think you are a bit confused… The meet was very, very fast and deep NOT ‘a bit slow.’ And I am 100% sure, with a cool down pool (both days) ALL swimmers would have been much faster on their second swim (or on day 2)
The atmosphere will ALWAYS be there… Stop hiding behind a finger guys!!!

Reply to  Sillyswimmer
3 years ago

“a bit slow” wasn’t relative to the performances but rather the pool. There’s no arguing that new trier/evanston are fast pools by 2017 standard.

In my experience, part of the atmosphere was the small compact space. Standing on the blocks at New Trier with the 3rd side of fans literally 10ft behind you, or standing on the blocks at Evanston and looking out into the dome stands like a football arena is part of the atmosphere. You move that to something like UIC and it will for sure be a faster meet, but not quite the same. Not saying it isn’t worth it, just reflecting on my experiences. I remember the fun/loud/intense moments, not the fact that I may… Read more »

Reply to  Butterpeanut
3 years ago

Nice try! Illinois swimming in general should be ashamed of the facilities in the state, which includes all the universities. When you have to drive to Wisconsin for Senior State meets, you know it’s joke. Yes the excitement level is good, but the waiting, seating, heat, lack of deck space for swimmers and the fact that Illinois still has a 6 lane state meet is embarrassing. Time to get in the 21st century and build some decent facilities!

Reply to  Swim mom 2
3 years ago

From the picture I’ve found in search results, the facilities here are much better than the championship pools used in the NEPSAC (New England Prep) competitions. I am a current swimmer in the league, and I can say that I don’t speak for myself when I mention that we are quite frustrated with the quality, or lack their of, of the pools that we are given for our taper meets.

3 years ago

Wrong! Melissa Pish (1:46.08) is not the ISI State Record holder. Ella Tierney from NASA Wildcat Aquatics is with a 1:46.04

Reply to  Justsaying
3 years ago

State records are only from the state meet so the record holder is Georgia White.

Reply to  Hannah
3 years ago

While G. White is the IHSA Record holder and meet record holder with a time of 1:46.69, E. Tierney is the ISI State Record holder with a time of 1:46.04…

Reply to  Justsaying
3 years ago

Justsaying – this is an article about high school swimming, so the state records being referred to are high school state records. Comparing those to club records would be inequitable for, among many other reasons, the quality of pool.

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Braden: my comment about the ISI State Record was made just because the article mentioned M. Pish as the ISI State Record holder and that was incorrect.

Swim mom
3 years ago

It was also interesting how the delayed finals so a swimmer could change out of a suit that didn’t meet IHSA specifications. I’m guessing they wouldn’t have done this for just any swimmer. They DQ’d a swimmer for jumping back in the pool after she excited (so she could get a 25Y cool down). No special treatment there.
IHSA is corrupt with two schools in thei pocketbook.

Reply to  Swim mom
3 years ago

I was at the meet and I don’t remember a delay long enough for a swimmer to change in and out of a fast skin, which would probably take 10 minutes at the least.

Swim mom
Reply to  Hannah
3 years ago

Finalsa Sat AM. First race. Medley relay. Meet didn’t start at 1100. More like 1115. The incident started before the meet started. I was there too… listening to said swimmers father complain.

3 years ago

Agree that the pools are crappy, and no warm-down and zero deck space does not make for an incredible “atmosphere”. The athletes should be put first, obvious this does not happen in illinois, sad to say. Congrats to Bill schalz at Rosary for another state championship, and Daryl Luebner at Oswego for the state runner-up finish. Perhaps more Illinois H.S. Teams should take to the Rosary motto of: “dilly dilly” for a chance to be more successful in the coming years.

Swim Mom
Reply to  Buckeyeboy
3 years ago

Oswego’s 2nd place finish was very impressive – all the swimmers have to live in their school district and their is no opportunity to recruit the fastest swimmers to their HS. Much like club swimming, the mega club will always dominate making a no contest atmosphere for any state championship. Rosary will likely repeat for years to come given their ability to pull out of their mega club that the other teams don’t have. The real contest will be for 2nd and 3rd… teams without an inherent advantage. I do enjoy having all the fast kids together in one meet though, but disagree with 2 finals of 6, leaving many kids out who would be finalist or champions in other… Read more »

Reply to  Swim Mom
3 years ago

I think the reason that it’s two finals of 6 is because Evanston, which hosts the state meet every other year, only has six lanes.

Swim mom
Reply to  Rachel
3 years ago

Add a C final.
Or have the meet at a decent pool.

Swim Fan
3 years ago

Agreed that the facilities are less than ideal but there is something to be said about the traditions of the IHSA meet. That being said, I do think it is time for some major changes with IHSA swimming. First the pools, hopefully the pool project in Oak Brook will provide a new option for the meet in the future. Second, it’s time to consider having a class system implemented to allow more opportunity to teams and swimmers. I would suggest a three class system broken down as 1A Public, 2A Public and Private School. For years, private schools have had a huge advantage as they are allowed to recruit the best swimmers into the program. The same advantage/disadvantage exists within… Read more »