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Gabby Sims' success boosts Downers North swimming to second place in state

Downers Grove South's Aimee Dragas competes at state meet, notches pair of strong finishes

Published: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 5:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:46 a.m. CDT
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Members of Downers Grove North's girls swimming and diving team jump in the pool to celebrate their second place finish at last weekend's state meet. Photos provided by Jan Sims
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Downers Grove North senior Gabby Sims gets set to race in the 100-yard backstroke finals at the state meet. Sims won the race and set new pool and school records.
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Gabby Sims, left, slaps five with sister Maddy Sims after the pair helped Downers Grove North's 400-yard freestyle relay win a state title.

WINNETKA – An impressive season came to an impressive end for Gabby Sims and her Downers Grove North swimming and diving teammates.

Led by Sims, the Trojans won four events, tallied 157 points and finished second in the state, just 3.5 points back of state champion New Trier.

For Sims, a senior and Harvard University commit, the second place team finish and four first place medals was the perfect end to a magical high school swimming career.

“All our hard work has paid off and it feels so amazing,” Sims said. “Placing second at state is such an incredible accomplishment, and I am so happy to call the team and coaches my second family.”

Sims placed first on her own in the 100-yard backstroke and 100 freestyle and also helped North take first in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay with times of 1:42.22 and 3:25.16, respectively. Her time in the 100-backstroke set a new Downers Grove North varsity record and New Trier pool record.

Sims and the Trojans jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, winning the first event of the day – the 200 medley relay. Sims set a PR on her leg of the race and Gabriele Serniute, Maddy Sims and Emily Albrecht helped the team defeat Fenwick and New Trier by nearly one second, setting a New Trier pool record.

Gabby Sims proceeded to capture first in the 100 freestyle (50.12) and 100 backstroke (53.93) later in the meet.

Additionally, Serniute finished sixth in the 200 individual medley, Albrecht took 10th in the 50 freestyle, and Maddy Sims and Daria wick placed seventh and ninth, respectively, in the 100 butterfly.

With a time of 1:35.37, the North 200 freestyle relay team of Albrecht, Wick, Lindsay Mathys and Maddy Sims came in second to Mundelein. The relay team set a new Downers Grove North varsity team record

Freshman twin divers Emily and Elizaberth Aument also added to the Trojans’ point total by finishing seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 1-meter diving competition. Emily Aument posted a point total of 387.10 and Elizabeth Aument tallied a 382.90.

The Trojans ended the state finals meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay, setting a new North varsity and New Trier pool record. Albrecht, Mathys and the Sims sisters finished in 3:25.16, over a second better than second place Fenwick.

“It was such a great way to end the meet and the season,” said Gabby Sims. “We fell behind in the race, but had a strong comeback and were able to win the relay.

“Our goal was to take home a trophy and we finished the season as the second best team in state. There is no better feeling than that.”

The state meet marks the end of the Trojans’ dominant run through the conference and sectional meets. This season, the Trojans went undefeated during West Suburban Silver conference dual meets and decimated the competition at the sectional, winning every event during on the way to the title.

“This season was really special,” Gabby Sims said. “I enjoyed being a leader and a captain of this team, and I am so honored to lead such a great, tightly-knit group of girls. It was the perfect way to end my high school career.”

Downers Grove South

Competing in the portion of the state meet for athletes with disabilities, Downers Grove South sophomore Aimee Dragas placed second in the 100-yard freestyle (1:42.90) and third in the 50 freestyle (47.01).

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