Girls swimming: Oswego Co-op’s Katie Gresik, Chloe Diner lead team medalists at state

Gresik wins 500 freestyle title, both girls win two individuals

Oswego’s Katie Gresik competes in the 500-yard freestyle championship heat during the IHSA Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.

Katie Gresik is a relative novice to distance swimming events.

The Oswego East senior has tried a little bit of everything in the sport. Gresik started with the butterfly and breaststroke, and moved toward the individual medley. Last year, Gresik took up the 500-yard freestyle race for the first time.

“I came into it with no expectations,” Gresik said. “I really like distance events. I feel I have control over how fast I can go and can race people around me.”

For a girl with limited expectations, Gresik has taken to the distance events like a fish to water. She finished second in the state in the 500 free as a junior.

That motivated her to work on it – and Gresik’s efforts were rewarded this past Saturday. Swimming a lifetime best 4:52.19, Gresik won the 500 free state championship at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont to lead the Oswego Co-Op team’s medalists.

Oswego Co-Op took seventh as a team, and won the Combined state championship that includes results from swimmers with physical and visual disabilities.

“I think this year we really worked on trying to be closer and trying to be together outside of practice with team bonding. We were a lot closer,” Gresik said. “If you saw the picture of the team afterward, so many people showed up to cheer on each other. It’s so cool to be there for each other.”

Prior to the 500 race, Gresik took third in the 200 IM in 2:03.50, with teammate Chloe Diner second in 1:59.02. Diner, like Gresik, was a multi-event medalist, also taking second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.85.

Diner, who will swim collegiately at Illinois, broke Mari Kraus’ 200 IM school record at sectionals, then topped that mark at state.

“The 200 IM, I’ve been really working on that event specifically the last couple years, especially after my freshman year when I moved to a new club team. I started specializing in IMs,” Diner said. “That 200 IM record was set by Mari Kraus a long time ago. She was a part of my older sister’s age group and I grew up always watching those older kids and thought it would be really cool to do something similar to that. I wanted the record and to break 2 minutes. To have that happen is nice.”

Oswego’s Chloe Diner competes in the 100-yard breaststroke championship heat during the IHSA Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.

Diner, like Gresik, improved on her state finish from the 2022 season, when she was third in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 breaststroke.

“I know junior year I was a little disappointed with how I finished and my times. I felt the way I was training and everything I could have done more,” she said. “Just to come back and finish on a high note and do all that, it means a lot.”

When she re-watches her 500 race, Gresik sees that she took it out faster than she ever had a 500 race. Once she was there she had to maintain that pace, which she did.

So how does it feel to win a state championship?

“I never know how to answer that question. It was something I was happy to do,” Gresik said. “I know my coaches were super positive, that I could do this and do that. Seeing the reaction after I won it, it was a cool thing having the support of all my teammates as soon as I got out of the water. It was a cool thing.”

Other medalists for Oswego Co-Op included Katie Malm in the diving competition (fourth, 462.60 points), and Addi Miller in the athletes with disabilities 200 freestyle (fifth), 50 freestyle (sixth), 100 freestyle (sixth) and 100 breaststroke (sixth).

“It was really nice,” Diner said. “Going into the season we knew we could do something really good. It was a great experience to come back and we also brought everyone, alternates included. They got to stay with it. It made the whole night there special.”