Primetime performers show up for Centennial, Uni High at state meet

Primetime performers show up for Centennial, Uni High at state meet

WINNETKA — Lizzie Rumsey has ample motivation heading into today's finals at the state meet.

Not only to possibly secure a medal.

But if the Centennial diver finishes in the top 10, her diving coach, Don Waybright, will shave his beloved mustache.

"It's a very big goal of mine to make sure that happens," Rumsey said with a laugh on Friday, after she qualified for the finals with a fourth-place showing in the semifinals. "I'm happy with my results right now."Rumsey could vault even higher up the standings if she continues the progression she's displayed all season long.

A year after qualifying for state, Rumsey is through to the second day for the first time in her career. It's a moment not lost on the senior.

"My mindset this year was 'Don't freak out and do as well as you could do,'" Rumsey said. "Last year, I freaked out and messed up."

The experience of having already competed at state calmed some of Rumsey's nerves before her dives on Friday.

"I knew what to expect this year and having competed at some bigger meets already this season helped, too," Rumsey said. "It was just nice to go out and perform well."

Much like Uni High senior Ema Rajic did on Friday. The defending state champion in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke clinched spots in today's finals for both events after sterling swims during Friday's prelims. Rajic enters the finals with the second-fastest time at the meet in the 100 breaststroke after she touched the wall in 1 minute, 1.90 seconds, just behind Valerie Tarazi of Crystal Lake South (1:01.64). Rajic clocked in with the fourth-fastest time in the 200 IM at 2:01.65, less than a second behind top finisher Annika Wagner of Maine South (2:00.84) on Friday.

"It's just one of those meets where you want to live another day," Uni High coach Dave Young said. "There's going to be some really good races between Ema and some of the other top seniors in her events. It's going to be like a college meet."

Another Uni High swimmer, Reed Broaders, will also swim today. She advanced in the 50 freestyle with a 12th-place showing in 23.75 and in the 100 butterfly with a 10th-place time of 56.08.

"Reed did awesome," Young said. "For a freshman to make finals in both events is pretty special."