Here are five girls swimmers to watch in the Northwest Herald area this season.
Hannah Blaksley, Woodstock North co-op, sr.
Blaksley was named the Fox Valley Conference’s Most Valuable Swimmer and co-Newcomer of the Year last year and returns as one of the area’s premiere sprinters. She finished third in the 50 free at the Highland Sectional and had the fastest sectional times among FVC swimmers in the 50 free and 100 free.
Eleni Gewalt, Richmond-Burton, sr.
Gewalt, the 2020 Northwest Herald Girls Swimmer of the Year, posted the best sectional results of any area swimmer, winning the 100-yard freestyle and earning runner-up in the 100 breaststroke at the Highland Sectional. The senior will go for her third state appearance after a postseason was not held last fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tessa Jones, Marian Central, jr.
Jones had one of the better all-around postseason performances among area swimmers, placing runner-up in the 200 individual medley, third in the 500 free and sixth in the 100 breaststroke at the Highland Sectional. She likely will be looking to qualify for state in her two best events: the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
Avery Watson, Crystal Lake South co-op, so.
The sophomore earned co-FVC Newcomer of the Year honors and recorded three top-10 finishes at the Stevenson Sectional, placing sixth in the 200 free, sixth in the 500 free and seventh in the 100 butterfly. Among FVC swimmers at sectionals, Watson had the fastest time in the 100 butterfly, second fastest in the 200 free and third fastest in the 500 free.
Ella Young, Huntley, sr.
Despite there being no FVC Invitational last year because of the pandemic, Young helped lead the Red Raiders to a perfect conference season with a 12-0 record in duals. At the Stevenson Sectional, Young was sixth in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100 butterfly. Among her FVC peers, she had the fastest time in the 200 IM and second fastest in the 100 butterfly. Young was a state qualifier in the 100 butterfly two years ago.