EAST MOLINE, Ill. — Morrison sacrificed individual glory for team success Saturday, and the Fillies were happy with the results.
Morrison came away with school freshman-sophomore records in all three relays, recorded personal-best times in all but three races and finished ninth at the United Township Sectional girls swimming meet.
The Fillies stepped on the awards stand four times for top-six finishes and scored 81 points, just three behind eighth-place Peoria Richwoods and 18 shy of LaSalle-Peru and United Township, which tied for sixth place with 99 points in the 16-team event.
The Fillies decided to put triplets Sadie, Sara and Sydney Norman and fellow sophomore Gracen Harmon in all three relays and just one individual event each. They were rewarded by getting to the awards stand in all three relays.
“For me, it wasn’t really that difficult,” said Sadie, who placed 11th in her individual event, the 100-yard butterfly. “It was hard to choose which one, but to decide whether I wanted to do three relays or to do two individuals, I knew right away I wanted to do three relays.
“I was so proud of our team. I was so proud about how everyone swam today.”
Harmon had the other top-six finish. She placed sixth in the 100 freestyle in 57.22 seconds, beating her personal record by .67 seconds.
“Honestly, it really surprised me that I was able to go up to the top six and go up on the blocks today,” she said. “It was so cool that I was able to actually place by myself in the sectionals. My key was to kick as fast as I could and try not to breathe.”
Harmon also talked about opting for three relays.
“It was difficult to give up an individual (event), but we knew that if we did these relays, we would get psyched up for it, and we really wanted to see how much time we could cut, where we could place and how well we could do.”
They were happy with answer, and so was Coach Chelsea Brewer.
“It was really successful,” Brewer said. “All their hard work really paid off. They took a gamble with their choices, and I’m happy with their decision to do the three relays and to scratch an individual. They really wanted to work together as a team and came together well as a team. Their relays really helped pump them up and keep the momentum going for the rest of the meet.”
The payoff was immediate. The Fillies opened the meet by placing sixth in the 200 medley relay in 1:58.45, almost three seconds faster than their previous best time.
“Coming into it, we showed up; we weren’t expecting to place that much,” Sadie Norman said of the relays. “We just wanted to do our best.”
Sadie Norman led off the medley relay with a 29.83 split in the backstroke. Sydney Norman followed with a 34.89 time in the breaststroke, Harmon swam the butterfly leg in 28.25 and Sara Norman went 25.49 in the freestyle.
The Fillies best finish came in the 200 freestyle relay. Sadie Norman led off, followed by Sydney Norman, Sara Norman and Harmon, and they placed third in 1:43.93, almost two seconds better than their previous meet. Swimming in the same order, they capped the meet with a fifth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:52.92, much better than their 3:59.07 seed team.
“We were really trying to make sure we stuck those turns and those starts, and we just really didn’t want to get DQed,” Harmon said of the relays.
“It was a really good day today. We’ve been working hard for the past two weeks, and we’ve been hoping that all that hard work would eventually pay off here. It did. We all got personal records, we placed on the blocks for all of our relays and we all really wanted to cut time today, so it was really important to us that we cut so much time. It’s been a really good day today.”
In other individual events, Sara Norman placed ninth in the 50 freestyle (26.17 seconds, a personal record); Lindsey Houldson had a PR of 1:00.44 as she placed 13th in the 100 freestyle and also was 14th in the 50 freestyle (27.51); Sydney Norman took 10th in the 200 individual medley, setting the school freshman-sophomore record in 2:21.86; and Nicole Hess claimed 12th in the 500 freestyle (6:01.56) and 14th in the 200 freestyle (2:17.60).
“We had goals to better our placing in the relays, which we did on all three; to better our records in the relays and to come out and get some personal goals that we set at the beginning of the season,” Brewer said. “For the most part, all of our personal goals were met. I had a team goal of getting all six of them below a 27 in the 50 free; we met that (and) I have three of them at 25s now. I had a goal to have three podiums at sectionals; we had four. So, I was happy with that. And whose to say we would have gotten them in the individuals we scratched?
“I’m very happy with how today went.”
Dunlap won the sectional team title with 289 points. Peoria Notre Dame was second with 265, with Rock Island (156), Moline (140) and Galesburg (101) rounding out the top five.
Dunlap qualified for state in seven of the 12 events, while Peoria Notre Dame advanced in three. Moline (diver Taylor Puglisi), Rock Island (100-yard breaststroke champion Mikayla DePover) and United Township (100 backstroke runner-up Brandi LaFountaine) each qualified one athlete for the state meet this Friday and Saturday at New Trier High School in Winnetka.
UNITED TOWNSHIP SECTIONAL
1. Dunlap 289; 2. Peoria Notre Dame 265; 3. Rock Island 156; 4. Moline 140; 5. Galesburg 101; 6. (tie) LaSalle-Peru, East Moline United Township 99; 8. Peoria Richwoods 84; 9. Morrison 81; 10. Quincy Notre Dame 40; 11. Peru St. Bede 10; 12. Quincy 5; 13. Macomb 4; 14. Peoria Christian 1; 15. (tie) Biggsville West Central, Rock Island Alleman 0.
Top three placewinners, plus Morrison finishes
(Winners and others beating the qualifying standard, denoted by an asterisk -- advance to the state meet)
Diving — 1. Taylor Puglisi (Mol) 343.90; 2. Anna Smarjesse (PND) 325.65; 3. Danielle Dutart (PND) 308.25.
200-yard medley relay — 1. Notre Dame (Magen Monson, Kiera Fennell, Ashton Amerman, Catie Schimmelphenning) 1:50.93; 2. Dunlap 1:52.23; 3. Rock Island 1:52.66. 6. Morrison (Sadie Norman, Sydney Norman, Gracen Harmon, Sara Norman) 1:58.46.
200 freestyle — 1. Amerman (PND) 1:54.97 (Meet record; old, 1:55.48, Amerman, 2016); 2. Sophia Spolidorio (Dun) 1:58.15; 3. Olivia White (Mol) 1:58.29; 14. Nicole Hess (Mor) 2:17.60.
200 individual medley — 1. Savannah Sowards (Dun) 2:08.01 ; 2. Taylor Weaver (Dun) 2:11.34; 3. Fennell (PND) 2:14.61; 10. Sydney Norman (Mor) 2:21.86.
50 freestyle — 1. Elizabeth Sowards (Dun) 23.14 (Meet record; old, 23,90, Danielle Hulick, Galesburg, 1998. Pool record; old, 23.74, Sowards, 2017); 2. Schimmelphenning (PND) 25.10; 3. Laney Krebs (Mol) 25.14; 9. Sara Norman 26.17; 14. Lindsey Houldson (Mor) 27.51.
100 butterfly — 1. Emma Theobald (Dun) 55.32 (Meet record; old, 56.79, Danielle Voorhees, Dunlap, 2011. Pool record; old, 55.45, Theobald, 2017); 2. Savannah Sowards (Dun) *56.69; 3. Shannon O’Malley (Rich) 59.01; 11. Sadie Norman (Mor) 1:05.52.
100 freestyle — 1. E. Sowards (Dun) 51.95; 2. Schimmelphenning (PND) 54.79; 3. Krebs (Mol) 55.35; 6. Harmon (Mor) 57.22; 13. Houldson (Mor) 1:00.44.
500 freestyle — 1. Amerman (PND) 5:05.98; 2. White (Mol) 5:18.17; 3. Kelly Ryan (Dun) 5:23.16; 12, Hess (Mor) 6:01.56.
200 freestyle relay — 1. Dunlap (E. Sowards, Annie Pollard, S. Sowards, Theobald) 1:36.91 (Meet record; old, 1:37.96, Dunlap, 2016. Pool record; old, 1:37.90, Dunlap, 2017); 2. Notre Dame 1:43.55; 3. Morrison (Syd. Norman, Sara Norman, Sad. Norman, Harmon) 1:43.93.
100 backstroke — 1. Theobald (Dun) 56.47; 2. Brandi LaFountaine (UT) *57.54; 3. Monson (PND) 59.55.
100 breaststroke — 1. Mikayla DePover (RI) 1:07.50; 2. Mallory Pitstick (LP) 1:08.83; 3. Fennell (PND) 1:09.35.
400 freestyle relay —1. Dunlap (S. Sowards, Brenna Salverson, E. Sowards, Theobald) 3:35.56; 2. Notre Dame 3:46.03; 3. Moline 3:48.01; 5. Morrison (Syd. Norman, Sara Norman, Sad. Norman, Harmon) 3:52.92.