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Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Girls swim season concludes at IHSA State prelims

Four members of the girl’s swim team competed in the IHSA State Swimming and Diving preliminary rounds Nov. 10-11, marking the end of the season for the team.

The meet marked the third consecutive trip to State for Kenna Malinowski (’25). Malinowski has qualified for State in the maximum four events each year of her high school career.

Also making their return to State were Ava Johnson (’24) and Piper Lowder (’26), as Lyndsey Hackman (’25) made her debut at the IHSA’s championship event.

Despite failing to advance to the Finals, coach Mrs. Heather Budak was happy with the results, as the swimmers posted times in line with their seeing.

“I was happy with their performance,” Budak said. “We pretty much maintained our times from the weekend before, and we had trained to swim fast at the Sectional.”

Malinowski barely missed the final cut in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 23.99, just .9 seconds away from contending in the State finals, and taking 18th for the second year in a row.

The three-year state competitor attributed part of her success to her familiarity with the location.

“I was definitely more experienced with the pool since I’ve seen it a lot,” Malinowski said. “That helped a lot.”

In the 100-yard freestyle, Malinoski placed 32nd with a time of 52.96, a .97 improvement on her freshman performance.

“It was probably my best season,” Malinowski said of 2023.

But heading into 2024, Malinowski is eyeing the “big goal” of making it to the State finals.

To help Malinowski reach that goal next season, coach Mrs. Heather Budak is considering a different approach.

“We probably won’t rest her as much for the Sectional meet next year,” Budak said, “so we can focus a little bit more on the State meet.”

Following the team’s “surprising” win over their competitors in the Sectional meet, the four state swimmers took 37th in the 200- relay with a time of 1:40.49. A 1.02 improvement on last season’s State time.

The team then took 28th place with a time of 3:41.32 in the 400. Once again improving on last season’s time by 3.66.

This year’s relay team was composed of Malinowski, Johnson, Lowder, and first-time State contender Lyndsey Hackman.

“Lindsay had a great meet,” the coach said. “Her times were right even with where they were at the Sectional. I was really pleased with how she did.”

Outside the relays, Johnson participated in her first state 500-yard free, placing 39th, with a time of 5:20.69.

“Everybody got faster in everything they swam,” Budak said. “So I would say as a whole, we had a pretty good season.”

But who will round out the relay lineups next season remains ambiguous.

Ava Johnson’s graduation leaves a void on the Iron relay teams.

“It’ll just be filling in with whoever’s up and coming,” the coach said.”I don’t know who our eighth graders are. Nobody’s guaranteed a spot.”

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About the Contributors
Bryce Hickman, Staff Writer
Bryce Hickman is a junior at Normal Community High School and a member of Key Club and Bit by Bit Computer Science Club. Bryce Hickman is a staff writer for the Inkspot. I like practicing Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo. If I won a million dollars, I would buy a house and pay for college.  
Carter Hull, Staff Writer
Carter Hull is a junior and a member of Key club. He is also a staff writer for the Inkspot. My hidden talent is my exceptional Bop-It! ability. My favorite film is RRR.  
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