CARPENTERSVILLE – There's one overriding goal for the Jacobs co-op girls swimming team, and that's to repeat as champions of the Fox Valley Conference.
To do that it will have to get past Cary-Grove, which has a strong group of freshmen and the area's only returning state qualifier in Melissa Rose. Jacobs, which co-ops with Hampshire, has defeated the Trojans in two invitationals this year and in an FVC dual Thursday, 93-76.
Cary-Grove won the three relays Thursday while Jacobs dominated the individual events, winning six of eight.
Jacobs coach Young Le is not confident even with those wins and said he and C-G coach Scott Lattyak were each maneuvering their lineups.
"When I look at the paper, I don't match up with [C-G]," Le said. "We were going back and forth like a chess game."
Jacqueline O'Connor led Jacobs with wins in the 100 meter butterfly (1:13.35) and 100 backstroke (1:12.19). O'Connor said it's all about the team goals this season.
"We're hoping to win conference again," O'Connor said. "That's the goal."
To achieve that goal Le said will depend on everyone in the lineup contributing.
"I don't think it's going to be easy," Le said. "[We have] a lot of work ahead and a lot of changing to find the right combinations."
Jacobs has been putting in a lot of practice and swims every morning at 5:30 a.m. Those early mornings can be tough, but O'Connor sees it as a positive of getting her day off to a good start.
"It makes school easier because you're not falling asleep in class," O'Connor said.
Also for Jacobs, Nicole Sanchez won the 50 freestyle (29.23) and 100 freestyle (1:02.86), Erin Jameson won the 200 individual medley (2:44.62) and Natalie Cash won the 400 freestyle (5:14.82).
Rose is confident of getting back to state in the breaststroke and said she gained a lot of muscle with weight training.
"I feel a lot stronger," Rose said. "I stepped up the training this summer. My pull got a lot stronger."
C-G is also hoping to qualify a relay team for state this season.
"I'm very excited about our relays," Lattyak said. "It all depends on how much they want it."
Lattyak said he is confident Rose will make it to state again but wants to see her improve her times at state. He thinks having Rose focusing on qualifying a relay team will also help her individually.
"It does take the stress off of it," Lattyak said. "It makes it a little more exciting."
Also for C-G, Ashlynn Baker won the 200 freestyle (2:19.07). In the relay events, Baker, Rose, Becca Elrod and Hannah Weber won the 200 medley relay (2:10.44), Natalie Hamann, Karsen Seeger, Ashley Mega and Weber won the 200 freestyle relay (2:01.68) and Seeger, Elrod, Baker and Rose won the 400 freestyle relay (4:16.73).