NORMAL — Every time posted in the course of a high school swimming season tells something about the future.
The marks produced during Thursday’s Intercity Meet at Horton Pool, for example, forecast a dynamic end of the season next month.
“If they can go fast now when they’re tired, then I expect them to go even faster later when they are rested,” said University High coach Ryan Burroughs, whose team scored 493 points to win for the seventh consecutive year.
Normal Community took second (373) ahead of Normal Community West (300) and Bloomington (136).
The Pioneers’ domination was especially impressive considering many of its stars didn’t enter their specialties.
“If you swim the same thing over and over again, you get kind of stale,” said Burroughs, whose girls will be back in their main events Saturday at the St. Charles Invitational.
U High made six changes to the Pantagraph area all-time top 11. No one climbed higher than freshman Hannah Boyd, the meet’s lone double winner.
Boyd won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.08 seconds. Only 1998 U High state champion Suzanne Almeida (23.23) and Olympic Trials qualifier Lindsay Gendron of NCHS (23.86 in 2009) have gone faster.
Boyd later won the 100 backstroke in 1:00.26 to reach No. 4 in area history.
“She’s naturally talented, a hard worker (and has) a good attitude,” said Burroughs, who does not allow underc1assmen to talk to the media. “She’s always had that natural ability, drive and competitiveness.”
Boyd opened the meet with a 23.94 anchor leg on the winning 200 medley relay, which sped 1:50.64, the No. 4 time in area history.
Joining her were 500 freestyle winner Kira Webster (5:19.81), 100 butterfly winner Brie Hines (1:01.12) and 100 breaststroke winner Elizabeth Madison (1:09.31). Madison’s breaststroke ranks No. 8 in the area all-time.
Boyd also swam 52.53 to anchor the winning 400 freestyle relay (3:38.43), which ranks No. 6 in area history. Joining her were Hines, 200 individual medley winner Emma Ronczkowski (2:11.93) and 200 freestyle winner Meagan McManus (1:59.46).
“We’re hoping to score those at state this year,” said Burroughs of his relays.
U High also won the 200 freestyle relay in a season best of 1:41.81 thanks to Madison, Ronczkowski, McManus and Webster.
Ronczkowski’s 2:11.93 in the 200 IM has only been bettered by 10 girls in area history.
“That felt good,” she said. “I was surprised how well I did on that. I just felt strong.”
Top-seeded diver Rachel Williams of NCHS felt a little off, but she scored 217.20 points to best U High’s Ling Kuhn (197.75) and teammate Alicia Kimbrell (187.60).
“I definitely feel like that wasn’t my best meet and I can do better, but I’m happy with how it ended up,” said Williams, who over-rotated her fourth dive.
“I had a really good top and I kind of got lost and didn’t really know what to do with it. It kind of surprised me.”
Williams recently notched a 228.85, the No. 6 score in area history.
“That was one of the best moments of my diving career so far,” she said. “It definitely shows that hard work pays off.”
The only 2011 champion to defend her title was Bethany Steffes of NCHS, who clocked a season best of 53.97 to win the 100 freestyle.