WINNETKA — Dunlap Co-op senior Emma Theobald qualified for the A finals in two events, while teammate Elizabeth Sowards and Metamora Co-op senior Noelle Peplowski both advanced to the A finals in one event on Friday in the IHSA girls swimming and diving state finals.
All of them will return at 11 a.m. Saturday to Winnetka New Trier pool for their shot at gold medals. The top six in each event advanced to the A finals, while the next six earned spots in the B finals.
Theobald had the best qualifying time in the 100-yard butterfly with a season-best 54.43 seconds, and was third in the 100 backstroke in :55.06, also a season-best time. She finished second in the 100 back last season.
Peplowski, the 2014 state champion in the 100 breaststroke, qualified third this year in 1:02.39, and will be in the B finals of the 200 IM after finishing eighth in qualifying in 2:02.97. She has finished seventh in that event three straight years.
"She just didn't have the turnover rate on her backstroke, just glided too long into the walls, and didn't really attack the walls," Metamora coach Shane Morrison said of Peplowski's performance in the 200 IM. "She had a good 100 breaststroke. She atttacked the walls a lot better, and definitely has more time to drop. But it just didn't happen for her in the IM."
Sowards, a freshman, qualified sixth in the 50 freestyle in :23.32, and finished 15th in the 100 free despite a season-best time of :51.83.
Theobald and Sowards also will be on the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams that qualified for Saturday's B finals, with time drops in both races.
They teamed with Annie Pollard and Savannah Sowards to qualify 12th in the 200 free relay in 1:36.64. In the 400 free relay, Theobald, Breanna Salverson, Elizabeth Sowards and Savannah Sowards were 10th in 3:30.19.
"We're sitting pretty good for tomorrow, and they're very, very happy," Dunlap coach Jim Bucher said. "We had some nice time drops, and getting both relays in was big. Now we'll see if we can do a little moving up tomorrow."
The Eagles just missed having junior Savannah Sowards in two B finals. She finished 13th in the 100 butterfly in :56.39, missing by :01 seconds, and was 14th in the 200 IM in 2:06.92. Both times were season bests.
"That was our plan all along, saving it for state," Bucher said. "I worked them hard all the way through sectionals, and they performed very well. It was a good day."