The Rob Lindgren Jamboree, hosted by Hersey, is one of the most anticipated events of the girls swim season.
Especially by the competitors.
“Between the dances in the beginning, and the music blaring right before we swim, it’s great to get that good energy going,” Buffalo Grove senior Reese Frighetto said. “That showed in a lot of the swims today.”
“I’ll tell you what my girls said — it’s the most fun event they’ve ever been to,” Stevenson coach Jennifer King said of this year’s invite, which was held at the pool at Prospect.
The meet is also a terrific way to honor Lindgren, a coach, teacher, mentor and passionate advocate for the sport of swimming.
He passed away in 2018 from pancreatic cancer.
“It’s always been a fun meeting,” said Jenny Lindgren, Rob’s wife. “It’s meant to be the last fun event before things get serious, with conference, sectionals and state.
“Its grown so much over the years, but you always see the same faces, officials and coaches. It’s just a great event and it ends up being like a party, with the singing and dancing along to the music. The kids really look forward to it.”
Possibly enjoying the Invitational most of all was Buffalo Grove, who won the Jamboree with 346 points.
Frighetto was part of the BG foursome that won the 200 yard medley relay, and the 400 free relay.
She also took second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.84 seconds, and she described the 50 free as “something that feels like the shortest race and the longest race at the same time — but it’s really exciting.”
“It was amazing today,” Frighetto said. “We’ve been working so hard at practice and it’s super inspiring to see it all pay off. We knew we had a shot at winning, there was a lot of great competition so we really wanted to step up and race.”
Vera Conic of Rolling Meadows, a freshman, won the 100 backstroke in a time of 57.18 seconds.
She also finished 2nd in the 200 IM.
“I was thinking that I had to start the race the right way,” said Conic of her approach to the 100 back. “When you have a good start, the rest will follow through.”
“Vera is very dedicated to her craft of excellence,” Meadows head coach Monika Chiappetta said. “She’s a hard worker, and everything I throw at her she attacks one hundred percent.”
Assisting in BG’s relay wins were Victoria Surdyka, Gianna Gagliano and Abigail Swanson in the 200 medley, and Surdyka, Ella Houston and Payton Menely in the 400 free.
Other top performances by the Bison came from Surdyka, winner of the 100 yard breaststroke at 1:07.87 and the 200 individual medley (2:10.06); Menely, who finished first in the 100 free in the time of 54.07; and Houston, who was runner-up in both the 200 individual medley and 500 free.
Maggie Bendell of Cary Grove won the diving event with 453 points.
Maine South’s top swimmer was Sarah Juiris, 2nd in the 100 free; while Mundelein’s Amelia Willis took 2nd place in the 100 back.
The top swim for Stevenson, which placed 2nd overall at 288, was the Patriots 400 free relay team of Liza Kolbunova, Anika Donovan, Amanda Martuszewski and Amanda Chang, which finished second.
“Our goal today was to race and not worry about times,” King said. “Everybody stepped up and raced the person next to them, and that’s what I was excited about.”
Gagliano of BG also excelled in the 100 fly and the 100 breaststroke, taking second in both events, while the Bison had another second-place finish in the 200 free relay.
And Frighetto summed up the mood of all the participants Saturday when she spoke about coach Lindgren.
“We’ve been coming here for four years, it’s a great tradition and we love coming out here and honoring him,” she said.