Swimming: Kissack earns three medals at IHSA State Championships

Junior Bryn Kissack medaled in each of her three events during the IHSA State Championship at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont. (Courtesy photo)

Junior student-athlete represents RTHS in Westmont

WESTMONT — Rochelle junior Bryn Kissack hasn’t stopped smiling since she received her three medals during the IHSA Girls Swimming & Diving State Championships on Saturday. With a renewed sense of confidence in both herself and her abilities, Kissack is eager to continue committing herself to a sport she aspires to do for the remainder of high school and beyond.

Kissack was the lone athlete representing Rochelle Township High School at the IHSA State Championships, which were held at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont. Kissack raced in three events including the 50-yard freestyle as well as the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke. Kissack, who has spina bifida, medaled in all three of her events, with her best finish coming in the 100-yard breaststroke, where she took seventh place with a time of 4:17.83.

“The environment at the state meet was enormous,” Kissack said. “There was much more energy than there was at the sectional meet. The environment was very different, but I raced so much harder than I did at the sectional last year because I had more swimmers in the lanes next to me. It was a mind-blowing experience… Hearing people tell me how well I performed makes me feel really good about myself and motivates me to keep swimming for the rest of my life.”

Kissack finished eighth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 3:20.50 and ninth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 1:31.93. Kissack saw her most significant improvement from this year’s sectional meet in the 100-yard breaststroke, where she shattered her sectional time of 5:37.93, beating it by just over 80 seconds. Kissack also outpaced her sectional time of 3:24.28 in the 100-yard freestyle, reaching the finish nearly four seconds faster during the state competition.

“After how well I did this weekend, I definitely want to improve and I want to have even more fun next year,” Kissack said. “I just want to get better and faster as a swimmer. I want to race against my times and I want to keep improving my times… As soon as I received my medals, I couldn’t stop smiling and even when I got home after the meet, I couldn’t stop smiling.”

Kissack, who competed in the athletes with disabilities division, was Rochelle’s first swimmer to reach the state meet since Alli Cole, who was a four-time state qualifier in the athletes with disabilities division. It was Kissack’s first experience at the state meet, as she qualified last year but did not compete in order to cheer on the Rochelle football team, which had reached the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs under her father, head varsity coach Kyle Kissack.

“It was so awesome to receive my medals,” Kissack said. “Placing in the top 10 for each of my three events was incredible. I knew I could do it, but to actually achieve it was an incredible feeling and I’m so proud of myself… I’ve had teachers and some of the kids at school come up to me and tell me how well I did, which made me feel really good about myself.”