Saturday afternoon at Woodstock North, the Huntley Red Raiders’ girls swim team came in fourth at the Fox Valley Conference meet. The Red Raiders edged out long-time rival, and conference champion of 2013, Cary-Grove, by five points.
Junior Kristen Czarnecki started Huntley off strong by placing third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:16.04. Czarnecki carried that momentum in her 100 fly, coming in second with a time of 1:00.70, 2.16 seconds over the state qualifying time. Katelyn Carlson, the only freshman on varsity, was runner up in the 100 back coming in at 1:01.85. Coming in two seconds behind Carlson was junior Jacqueline Padal with a fourth place finish.
Two of the three leading teams were co-ops, outnumbering Huntley by a substantial amount. Huntley didn’t rely on their numbers, but rather on the strength of the individuals.
“The competition was especially fierce this year. Jacobs and Crystal Lake had really big and strong teams,” said senior Angel Wong.
As a team, swimming a personal record wasn’t uncommon. Out of all the swims of the meet, only three weren’t best times.
“All the girls had good individual best times and two that stood out to me were from Jordan McGuire and Jaclyn Smitendorf,” said coach Brenda Czarnecki.
This season, Huntley lost varsity swimmers Veronica Burgos and Lindsey Ferguson due to injuries. Missing two athletes may not seem like a significant loss, but it makes up a large percentage of the team. Despite the scramble to strategically rearrange the line up, Huntley managed to pull through.
At the beginning of the season, Huntley was in search of a new coach. A brand new head coach contributed to this season’s chaos. Brenda Czarnecki was hired just a week before the season began, giving her little preparation for what the next four months had in store. Clearly, the times from conference reflect her capabilities to manage the job.
“Coaching was easy with such a great group of girls. I enjoyed this year and look forward to see what next season brings,” said Coach Czarnecki.
The team has a week left to work out any kinks and to taper for sectionals. The swimmers aim to finish this four month season on a strong note and anticipate further time drop with possible state qualifications.