By Marty Farmer
Although the Fenwick girls swim team fell short of winning a state championship Saturday at New Trier, the Friars still left Winnetka with three state titles in individual events and a stellar third-place showing in the team standings.
Fenwick scored 126 points, trailing only champion New Trier (160.5) which edged out runner-up Downers Grove North (157) in a classic battle for the title. The host Trevians notched their fourth straight state championship and 14th overall, while Fenwick posted another strong state finals performance coming off second-place finishes in 2012 and 2011.
Texas-bound Mimi Schneider closed out her illustrious Fenwick career in memorable fashion, becoming the first double state champion in school history. Schneider won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.87 and also claimed the 100 butterfly title clocking a time of 53.86.
Fellow senior Paulina Kaminski, who will swim at Yale next year, won the 100 breaststroke (1:02.40) and took second in the 200 individual medley (2:03.67) behind champion Kara Lucenti (2:02.27) of New Trier. When she was a sophomore in 2011, Kaminski also claimed the 100 breaststroke state title by touching the wall at 1:03.96.
In the 100 free on Saturday, the Friars' Maggie Sheehan finished 10th (52.36).
Fenwick performed well in the relays with a pair of second-place showings. The senior quartet of Sheehan, Kaminski, Schneider and Colleen Barron recorded a time of 1:43.01 in the 100 medley relay. Downers Grove North won the event with a time of 1:42.22. In the last race of the day, Downers Grove North (3:25.16) edged out the Friars (3:26.50) in the 400 free relay. Kaminski, sophomore Catie Wallace, Sheehan and Schneider represented the Friars in the finale.
Oak Park and River Forest earned one point in the team standings, courtesy of senior Alanna Dassoff. The Wyoming-bound Dassoff took 12th place in the 100 backstroke (57.71).
Fenwick tuned up for the state meet with a dominant performance at its sectional on Nov. 16. The Friars scored 350 points and won 11 of 12 races in their pool en route to an 11th consecutive sectional title. OPRF earned second at the Fenwick Sectional.
Along with her fellow seniors, Schneider set the tone early for another outstanding season.
"Mimi is the ultimate competitor and leader," Fenwick coach Renee Miller said about Schneider, who has starred on varsity since her freshman season. "She's the whole package. Every year she's willing to swim any event, sacrificing individual event records because she is so team oriented."
At the state finals last year, Schneider finished second in the 100 butterfly (54.36). She also helped both the 400 free relay (3:25.25), and the 200 free relay (1:33.36) take second place. She holds three individual team records at Fenwick: The 50 free (22.83), the 100 fly (53.57) and the 100 free (51.11).
Schneider cites the Friars' considerable balance, depth and determination as key components of the team's success this season.
"We have a lot of great seniors but we also have some very talented underclassmen which balances our team nicely," Schneider said. "[Head coach Renee] Miller is a great coach; she's like a second mom for all of us. Fenwick swimming has been so successful because everybody around the program works very hard."