The Oak Park and River Forest and Fenwick High School girls swimming teams are quite familiar with each other. They are also likely to be contenders at the state meet later this fall, considering that the Huskies placed sixth and the Friars seventh, respectively, in 2015.
The rivals met twice last week, with the Huskies hosting the Friars in a nonconference dual meet (Sept. 20) won by Fenwick 94-92, before OPRF traveled south on East Avenue, Saturday, to take part in the Friar Invitational.
There OPRF placed fourth (227 points) and Fenwick fifth (210). St. Charles North won the title with a score of 370, followed by Loyola Academy (281) and Dunlap (280).
“Both teams really get up to swim and swim fast against each other,” Fenwick coach Renee Miller said about the local rivalry. “We told our swimmers every point counts.” %u200B
At the Friar Invitational, OPRF sophomore Natalie Ungaretti won a pair of races, taking the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.71 seconds and the 100-yard freestyle at 52.08. OPRF senior Hanna Blankemeier also placed first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.64).
At last year’s state meet, the highly touted Ungaretti took ninth in the 50 free in 23.65 after a 23.41 clocking in prelims as a freshman. A premier sprint swimmer, she could win a state title before she graduates. Blankemeier could also win an individual state championship.
In the 100-yard butterfly, the Huskies’ Samantha Neilson touched the wall at 1:00.64 for fourth place at the Friar Invitational.
OPRF performed well in the relays with a first-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle. Ungaretti, Neilson, Sara Segal and Blankemeier clocked a time of 3:34.97 to win. In the first race of the day, OPRF finished second in the 200-yard medley relay (1:49.01).
Although Fenwick didn’t win any races, the Friars swam well in several events to secure a top 5 showing against tough competition in their own pool.
Brooke West earned second in the 100 free with a time of 52.60 and was third in the 100-yard backstroke at 57.31. Perri Stahl came in third in the 100-yard breaststroke, posting a time of 1:09.46.
“We are a very young team and learning a lot,” Miller said. “We lost most of our state sectional team, so we are working hard to get the pieces in place for sectionals and state.
“Our team captains Ellie Carlson, Kelly Frumkin and Marie Towns are doing a great job leading the team. The team is working very hard at getting as many people to the state meet as possible.”