At the Illinois state girls’ swimming finals Saturday in Westmont, Leah Hayes, a sophomore from Kaneland High School in Maple Park, won gold in the 200-yard individual medley by swimming it in under 2 minutes.
@KHS_Knights Leah Hayes breaks the State Record at the @IHSAState Swim Finals that she set yesterday! The newest @kanelandhs State Champion! pic.twitter.com/u4j2zn5y3l
— Kaneland Athletics & Activities (@KHS_Knights) November 13, 2021
Her time of 1:56.38 set an Illinois High School Association record in the event, which involves swimming a 50-yard length of the pool with each stroke: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
She broke the record set by Maine South’s Annika Wagner, who came in at 2:00.13 during the November 2018 finals. Wagner set a few state records at Maine South, but the 200-yard IM is the last one to fall.
Hayes also set a new IHSA record and took gold in the 100-yard freestyle, beating Glenbrook South’s Olivia Smoliga’s time from 10 years ago. Hayes swam it in 48.34 seconds Saturday.
The most team points and state title were won by New Trier High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team from Winnetka.
In the effort, New Trier’s 4×50 medley relay team—Carly Novelline, Kaelyn Gridley, Alexis Wendel, and Charlize Escasa—also set a new IHSA record by a fraction of a second when they won gold Saturday. The former record, also held by New Trier swimmers, fell to this year’s team’s time of 1:39.65.
For the record, no swimmer at the IHSA finals came close to beating Katie Ledecky’s records in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle. She’s the Olympics champion from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, who still holds a few national high school records.