Stephanie Bowater brings enthusiasm to Hinsdale Central

SHARE Stephanie Bowater brings enthusiasm to Hinsdale Central

HINSDALE — Hinsdale Central freshman swimmer Stephanie Bowater is already in a good spot on the varsity team.

At the dual meet with New Trier on Saturday, for example, she swam the 200-yard medley relay, 500 freestyle, 200 free relay and 400 free relay. She, Hollis Clark, Emily Graham and Jazmin Shenouda won the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:52.98.

“She’s clawing her way into a really great position at a really early age,” Red Devils’ coach Bob Barber said. “It doesn’t really matter what event I put her in, she always works out.

“She’s swum just about all the races, which is hard to do as a freshman. She’s open about tough times and how things are going well. I’ve never seen her back down from anything.”

Bowater competed in the 200 free, 100 fly, 200 free relay and 400 free relay two days earlier against Lyons. The 400 free relay team of Margaret Kaufman, Mia Chiappe, Shenouda, and Bowater was edged by Lyons 3:40.54-3:41.33 for first.

Barber describes her as a happy, fun-loving girl who gets along with everyone, whether they’re coaches or teammates.

Coach Dan Otahal, who assists on the deck during a few practices a week, also sees that spirit.

“She represents well the freshman class that has a ton of talent and personality,” he said. “Stephanie’s personality keeps it light. Just by seeing her train, others will be inspired.”

She began swimming soon after she learned to walk, she said, because her family had a backyard pool at their former home in Texas. Her twin sister, Caroline, and brother, William, also swim for Hinsdale Central.

Their family moved to Illinois when Stephanie Bowater was 4 and she’s been swimming competitively since age 6 for the Hornets Swim Club.

She developed her “any race, any time” attitude early.

When she was 10, she took runner-up on the 200 medley team relay at the Speedo Illinois Swimming Long Course Age Group Championships. At age 12, she had top-16 finishes in the 100 fly, 50 fly and 100 backstroke and qualified for the Central Zone meet, which attracts the top swimmers from seven states.

“[Swimming’s] so hard, but you feel accomplished after you do it,” she says. “I can’t imagine life without it.”

She’s carried that enthusiasm over to the Hinsdale Central swim team. She loves the “whole team factor.”

“Everyone’s so close … you always have someone there even though it’s an individual sport,” she says. “There are so many good swimmers on the team. If people really, really work at it, we can be the team people want to beat.

“I hope to bring the girls to state and win sectionals. … I want us to be a team people remember and say, ‘I want to do what that team did.’ ”

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