Beads are back: Rosary wins invite

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Rosary failed to crack the top 10 at the state meet for the first time since 1997 last season, but the Beads are back on the ascent.

They proved that by winning the Rosary Invitational on Saturday for the first time since 2010, racking up 346 points to runner-up Naperville North’s 326. Naperville Central was third with 294 and Neuqua Valley fourth with 245 at the five-team meet.

“We weren’t expecting this win, to be honest,” Rosary sophomore Annie Gosselin said. “Last year we got last in this meet, so I’m pumped to win it this year. I think it was really important. It was a boost for our confidence.”

Gosselin led the way for Rosary by winning the 200-yard individual medley in 2:09.46 and the 100 backstroke in 58.31. She also teamed with Kate Canfield, Alexis Yager and Erin Hart to win the 200 medley relay.

Despite having no seniors, the Beads have shown good depth in the early going. Elaina Ricci captured the 50 freestyle in 25.05 and combined with Yager, Jill Bottarini and Hart to take the 200 free relay.

“We’ve been having some great meets lately,” Gosselin said. “All of us are swimming pretty well.

“On the back of our state shirts last year it said, ‘We’re not rebuilding, we’re reloading,’ and it’s so true. I think we’ll be able to surprise some people, so I’m excited to see what’s in store for us this year.”

Naperville North, which won this meet in 2012 but graduated most of its top talent, received a great performance from junior Devin Jacobs, who broke the meet record in winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.99. Jacobs also triumphed in the 200 free in 1:56 and swam a leg of the victorious 400 free relay, which timed 3:38.48 behind Taylor Stoner, Danielle Dimatteo and Katherine Malinski.

The breaststroke win was impressive considering Jacobs was seeded fifth in the event and dropped two seconds off her best time.

“Yes, that was a big surprise for me and I was not expecting that at all,” Jacobs said. “But I have been training more breaststroke, so it was a great feeling.”

What led to the breakout performance? “I think it’s definitely the atmosphere,” Jacobs said. “I’m comfortable because I have a lot of my club teammates here. This is a lot like the sectional meet for me because these are a lot of my rivals, so it was the atmosphere and all the competition that brought out the swim.”

Neuqua was the only other team with two winners. Grace Soltys won the 100 free in 54.44 and Natalie McGovern prevailed in the 100 butterfly in 1:00.07. Naperville Central’s Kelley Lehane took the 500 free in 5:18.

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