WINNETKA — Mundelein junior Erin Falconer finished less than 0.25 seconds away from winning a title in her first two events at the girls swim and dive state meet Saturday.
She described the moment that came next as the greatest feeling she’s ever had.
Falconer swam the opening leg of Mundelein’s 200-yard freestyle relay, and she was able to get the top-seeded Mustangs out to a slight lead. Junior Jennifer Kordik maintained Mundelein’s advantage on the second leg, and then junior Rachel Robb, in her red and silver swim cap, took off. Falconer said Robb swam a lifetime-best split in her leg of the relay, which built a sizable lead for senior Karrie Kozokar. Kozokar easily held off Downers Grove North senior Maddy Sims and touched the wall in 1 minute, 34.58 seconds.
Mundelein’s victory in the 200 free relay was the school’s first-ever state championship in swimming, according to the IHSA’s website. Mundelein’s Lucy Hirt won a state championship in diving in 2004.
“Once I swam, I was like, ‘All right,’ ” Falconer said. “It wasn’t my fastest swim, but I knew, ‘OK, we were still ahead.’ And then Jessica, she did good, too. And then Rachel dove in, and as soon as she finished, I was like, ‘We have this,’ because her best split before that was a 24.4. She went 24.1.”
Falconer added, “Honestly, it was the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt. I was so happy with them, and I was so thankful to have them as my teammates. … Winning an individual [title] is good, but I feel that as a team it’s just so much harder, and more worthwhile, because you get to share the moment with them. I’m just so happy for them.”
Mundelein earned 82 points and finished fifth in the team standings. New Trier won its fourth straight state title with 160.5 points.