Erin Falconer making familiar state trip at Mundelein

SHARE Erin Falconer making familiar state trip at Mundelein

VERNON HILLS — Erin Falconer will represent Mundelein at the girls swim and dive state meet for the third time this weekend.

For the junior, it doesn’t get any easier.

Falconer qualified for state in four events, including two individual events. She broke the pool record for the 100-yard freestyle at the Vernon Hills Sectional — finishing in 50.16 seconds — and was first in the 200 free in 1:51.26. Her big day helped the team to a third-place finish at sectionals.

“I’m really excited,” Falconer said. “It was a long day and filled with a lot of emotions. I was under the state time all season, so I knew I could do it. But you only have one chance to give it all you can.”

After a competitive 200 free race in which she held off Lake Forest’s Haley Nelson, Falconer said she felt she had to dig deep for the 100 free. Despite the fact that she led the entire way, Falconer said it was a tough race.

“I was really tired after the 200,” she said. “I knew I’d have to dig deep, so I was nervous. But I tried not to let it show because I wanted to keep my teammates up. I knew we had to keep the positive energy up.”

It was a big day for the Mustangs. Senior Karrie Kozokar qualified for state in the 50 free and 100 free, junior Jennifer Kordik qualified in the 100 breaststroke and all those two will swim along with Falconer and junior Rachel Robb in the 200 free and 400 free relays. Junior Kelsey Toland also qualified in diving.

“We want to be top 10 in state so we really needed to get all of our swims and relays in. We got everyone we needed to, including diving, except [Kordik] in the individual medley,“ coach Rahul Sethna said. “Overall we set ourselves up well for top 10, maybe top 6.”

Mundelein finished 13th at state last year, with four events making the finals. Falconer finished fourth in the 200 free and fifth in the 100 free. Both relays placed in the top 10.

Falconer said she expects a better finish this year, particularly for herself.

“Last year I wasn’t as confident,” she said. “Now, I’m a much better swimmer than last year and I have a whole new attitude about the sport. With a new coach and different team, it’s been a really positive experience.”

Falconer said that was key in the middle of the season when the long practices and pressure started to weigh on the Mustangs.

“October is the hardest part of the season,” she said. “The practices are long, there’s not a lot of meets and you want to give up. But I pushed through, with the help of my teammates, who throughout the season, when I wasn’t as enthusiastic, would pick me up. They’ve had my back all year.”

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