Asked midway through Friday's St. Charles North vs. St. Charles East girls swim meet which swimmers were doing well, St. Charles East assistant coach Kent Pearson said, "the ones in the pink caps."
That encompassed everyone on the St. Charles North pool deck, for this is the night each year when all St. Charles swimmers unite through competition and to celebrate the For Scout Foundation, which for three years has honored the memory of St. Charles resident Scout Cantrell, who died suddenly in 2014 when she was 9 years old, but who has touched literally hundreds of the city's residents.
During a break in the meet, the Cantrell family, which includes St. Charles North junior Kate Cantrell, received a check from both city's swim teams for $4,889. In its three-year history, the For Scout Foundation has raised $125,000.
"Every other sport, it's like we're divided by the river," St. Charles North junior Mallory Jump said. "I think swimming's different. We all come together and support something bigger, for Scout and the Cantrell family."
Friday's meet was competitive, though only individual times were recorded -- neither team had much interest in keeping team scores. Once in the water, swimmers from St. Charles North's powerhouse team and St. Charles East's young but talented squad swam to win. In between races, things were a little less cut throat.
"I think this meet is for a better cause," Jump said. "Obviously you want to win, but I don't think either North or East truly cares about winning more than it cares about the cause."
Jump was successful in her races. She won the 200-yard IM and the 100 butterfly. Audrey Guyett won the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle for the North Stars while Megan Armstrong (50 free) and Mary Ellen Wolff (100 back) also won races for the hosts.
St. Charles East won the 100 breaststroke through Kayla Jones, Madison Supple won the 500 free and Lauren Carne was the diving champion. As with the North Stars, the Saints were equally focused on events out of the water.
"Our schools are rivals in a way," Jones said. "At the end of the day, if we swim club, the North and East girls are combined. I think it's great that we come together on one night and support a foundation that means something to everyone on both teams and something to the entire town."
Fans from both teams wore identical pink T-shirts and even both officials were decked out in pink for the meet.
"I think this is a lot bigger than what we can imagine," Jones said. "It's about a lot more than racing and trying to beat the other team. We need to take time to think about how lucky we are and how we can support a cause for one of our teammates."