EDWARDSVILLE — The addition of the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center in Edwardsville this season has been a blessing to the metro-east swim scene.
The new swimming facility has given local schools the opportunity to showcase their skills in the pool in a local setting for friends, family and swim fans.
On Saturday, the Edwardsville Tigers played host to the Edwardsville Sectional, offering 29 programs the opportunity to compete at the Fruit Center. Two of those programs on display were Alton High School and Marquette Catholic High School.
“The facility is absolutely beautiful and Edwardsville was very accommodating and gracious hosts,” Alton head coach Lynda Willings said.
First-year Marquette head coach Chris Peuterbaugh added, “I wish it was here all the time, because it's been in Springfield most of the time.”
Under IHSA rules, in order to figure into the team scoring, programs have to swim in two regular season meets. Only eight teams figured into the team scoring on Saturday with the Tigers securing the title with 287 points.
As for individuals, the winner of each event advanced to state, as well as any swimmer who could top the qualifying time. Unfortunately, the Redbirds and Explorers were unable to propel any of their swimmers to state.
AHS freshman Lindsey Bruce provided a good showing for the Redbirds. Bruce tied for fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:00.01 and was fifth in the 100-yard backstroke clocked at 1:02.07. She also swam the second leg of the seventh-place 200-yard medley relay team (1:59.58) and the second leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay, which nabbed fourth place (1:47.16)
“I did better than I thought I was going to do,” Bruce said. “I didn't get the times that I wanted, but overall I did OK for my first sectional. I'll get better year by year.”
Willings was definitely pleased with what she saw out of the freshman.
“As a freshman she is definitely one of our shining stars coming up and had a great day,” Willings said.
Seven swimmers competed for the Redbirds on Saturday. Outside of Bruce, Madeleine Stobbs was seventh in the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 2:22.50 and 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:16.43, while also swimming the anchor of the 200 medley relay. Sophia Binolis was 16th in the 200 IM clocked at 2:47.90 and 25th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:30.06. Binolis also swam the first leg of the eighth-place 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:37.74.
Senior Natalie Long was seventh in the 50-yard freestyle (25.62) and swam on all three relay teams. Senior Rebecca Adney was 13th in the 50 free (27.83) and swam the first leg of the 200 medley relay. Courtney Moorefield was 14th in the 100 free (1:01.01) and 16th in the backstroke (1:11.79), while swimming on the 200 free relay and 400 free relay, too. Senior Stephanie Tillman was 39th in the 100 free (1:25.28) and swam the second leg of the 400 free relay.
Peuterbaugh thought Ginny Schranck had the best chance to qualify for state for the Explorers, but came up a little short. Schranck was fifth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:11.59, but fell short of the qualifying time. Schranck also swam the second leg of the fifth-place 200 medley relay team (1:58.21) and the anchor on the seventh-place 200 free relay (1:49.55).
“She just came up a little short,” Peuterbaugh said of Schranck. “But, these girls just amaze me with their dedication. Some of them get up by 5:30 a.m. to go to their other swim team's practice and are just very, very dedicated girls.”
Five girls competed for Marquette on Saturday. Besides Schranck, Lauren Heintz was 12th in the 200 free (2:16.28) and 12th in the 500-yard freestyle (6:08.53), while also swimming on both relays. Karoline Lauritzen was ninth in the 50 free (26.43) and seventh in the 100 free (57.24). Lauritzen was on both relays, too.
Keelie Stork finished 36th in the 50 free (35.03) and 36th in the breaststroke (1:44.90) in her first season in the pool. Shelby Roth rounded out the Marquette lineup, taking 10th in the 100 free (58.84) and 14th in the backstroke (1:08.31), while also participating in both relays.
“Most of them had some of their best times,” said Peuterbaugh. “So that's really good.”