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Maroons win third straight Big 6 swimming title
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PREP GIRLS SWIMMING | WESTERN BIG 6 MEET

Maroons win third straight Big 6 swimming title

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Moline senior swimmer Mimi Trenary could not contain her emotions after the Maroons won their third straight Western Big 6 Conference meet on Saturday.

“They are all amazing, they’re the best friends I’ve ever had and they are all great swimmers and such hard workers,” said a tearful Trenary, who started swimming varsity her sophomore year. “And I couldn’t be more proud of all of them.”

It was bittersweet for Trenary and the Moline senior class, which had a strong showing from top to bottom in its final home. There were time drops throughout the lineup a week before the season wraps up at the Rock Island Sectional.

The Maroons won 10 of 12 events on Saturday, posting a 337 total and running away to beat Rock Island and Galesburg by 103 points in the standings. Sterling (186) took fourth, followed by United Township (169) and Geneseo (70).

The three-peat is Moline’s first since a run of winning four straight from 1985-88.

Trenary, Hannah Gault, Hailee Messerly, and Sophie Greko began the day by winning the 200-yard medley relay (1:56.63) by six seconds. Greko and CC Cervantes then went one-two in the 200 free with Greko, who dropped three seconds, winning the event for the second straight year.

Cervantes, another senior, was also runner-up to her freshman teammate Messerly in the 100 fly. Greko, Messerly, Cervantes, and Clara Van Note paired to win the 200 free relay (1:46.76) by over five seconds.

“I think everyone did really, really good today,” Cervantes said. “Our team really shined and showed how hard we worked throughout the season. For me being a senior, personally, it’s really special to end my season with my best friends and have another title under our belt.”

The only events Moline did not win were diving and the 100 breaststroke, which Rock Island junior Olivia Sholl won for the second straight year, clocking a 1:09.67. Galesburg senior Ari Bailey won diving with a 350.20 Saturday morning, ahead of Rocky senior Ella McKinley’s 292.70 for second place.

Cervantes, Van Note, Trenary and Annika Zemek closed the title win with a victory in the 400 free relay (3:57.09) with another five-plus second margin in the final event.

Although the stands weren’t filled with fans because of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the lower volume of cheers didn't stop the Maroons from having some of their best performances.

“I swam some personal bests today, and I think that I have to owe a lot of that to my friends and my teammates and my coach,” Cervantes said. “Swimming one last time here was really special to me and I really enjoyed it.”

Individually, Messerly added a win in the 200 IM (2:20.80). Coach Michael Roche’s daughter totaled two individual titles and swam on two relay wins in her first Big 6 meet.

Greko won the 50 free in 25.53, ahead of UT sisters Jillian Smith (25.91) and Josie Smith (26.85). Fellow junior Van Note clocked a 56.46 to win the 100 free, just ahead of Jillian Smith’s 56.53 in the closest finish of the afternoon. Van Note and another junior, Annika Zemek, went one-two in the 500 free.

Greko, who was away from the team earlier this season for a two-week quarantine after a classmate had a COVID-19 exposure, praised the team’s performance. She and the other juniors are 3-for-3 when it comes to winning the Big 6.

“I think that we’ve grown so much as a team, and I think that everyone did so well today,” she said of the dominant performance. “It just really showed how our hard work is paying off.”

Another one-two finish was shared by Moline first cousins Hannah Gault and Ava Navarro, who topped the 100 backstroke. Gault, a junior, dropped almost four seconds as the freshman Navarro dropped over two to secure the silver.

Roche said he was impressed by everyone after the meet.

“We had some girls rested and other ones who are waiting to rest until sectionals,” he said. “But all across the board, we had season-best swims. I’m really proud of the girls. It’s looking good going into sectionals next week.”

Roche said it has taken dedication from the girls to win three straight conference titles.

“Not only the work that they put in during the season, but in the offseason as well,” Roche said. “That’s not an easy task. For them the last three years to come out victorious, it’s a true testament to their effort and practice habits.”

Moline was even back in the pool not long after the meet for a light practice.

Next up is another shot at dethroning Dunlap, the seven-time defending sectional champion.

“We’re definitely very motivated going into it,” Trenary said. “We really know what we want to do, and we’ve been working on how to do it.”

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