EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville High School’s girls showcased a young, but extremely vibrant swim team in their fourth straight IHSA Sectional title romp Saturday at Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center under head coach Christian Rhoten and assistant coach Samantha Shaw.
Edwardsville rolled to first with 265.5 points, compared to second place Springfield Sacred-Heart Lutheran with 220 points. Following Sacred-Heart was O’Fallon in third place with 114 points, followed by Chatham Glenwood (113), Springfield Southeast (67) and Springfield (30.5). Jacksonville Routt and Jacksonville High tied for seventh (four points).
The Tigers also qualified girls in three events:
The 200-yard freestyle relay of Sahar Rabiei, Autumn Grinter, Alison Naylor and Josie Bushell were first in a clocking of 1:38.80. Rabiei is the only senior, while Naylor and Bushell are sophomores and Autumn Grinter is a freshman sensation.
The Tigers’ 400-yard relay of Emily Webb, a senior, Grinter, Bushell and another freshman, Phoebe Gremaud, also qualified in a first-place time of 3:36.31.
The Tigers diver Taylor Seilheimer, also qualified with 370.15 points for an amazing fourth straight time as sectional champion. Chatham-Glenwood’s Samantha Kessinger was third with 336.35 points, and Edwardsville junior Lydia Hemings placed fourth (313 points).
Rhoten said all his girls came out to compete in the sectional.
“We knew it would take our best performance to keep up with a good Sacred-Heart team,” he said. “The relays got after it and swam very well. We qualified the 200-yard relay and 400-free relay and in Taylor in diving. We are looking forward to next weekend.”
Other key finishers for the Tigers were:
The 200-yard medley relay of Gremaud, Naylor, Rabiei and freshman Olivia Ramirez, second with a time of 1:52.64.
Bushell’s second places in the 200-yard free (1:56:00) and the 100-yard free (53.69).
Webb’s second in the 500-yard (5:16.06).
Gremaud’s third place in the 200-yard individual medley (2:12.65); Rabiei’s third in the 50-yard freestyle (25.39); Grinter’s third in the 50 freestyle (25.52); Webb’s third in the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.70) and Olivia Ramirez’s third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:12.20).
Bob Rettle, head coach of the Edwardsville YMCA Breakers and Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center general manager, said: “I know it’s about the kids, and I’m so proud of them. But I’m really proud of coach Christian Rhoten and coach Sam Shaw and how they prepared the very young group of up-and-coming star athletes. The future is bright for EHS swimming. Without those two we are not successful in what we do at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.”