WINNETKA  — Dunlap Co-op senior Emma Theobald joined an elite group of swimmers on Saturday when she won the 100 butterfly at the IHSA state swimming and diving meet.

Theobald won the A finals in 54.61 seconds at the Winnetka New Trier High School pool, for her first state title.

She is now only the third Peoria-area swimmer to win a title at the girls state meet, joining the Metamora Co-op's Noelle Peplowski (100 breaststroke in 2014) and Notre Dame's Becky Stoughton (200 freestyle and 500 freestyle in both 2009 and 2010).

"The ultimate goal in your senior year is to win state," Theobald said. "My sophomore year I didn't even make the finals in the 100 fly, and then my senior year I came back and won it.

"At state you usually go out pretty fast, so in the finals you usually don't have much left. But I still did."

Theobald also finished sixth in the 100 backstroke in :56.04 after posting the third-best qualifying time on Friday.

"It was just kind of a bad race," she said. "Some of my turns were a little off."

Theobald anchored the Dunlap 200 free relay to ninth place in 1:36.38, with team members Elizabeth Sowards, Savannah Sowards and Annie Pollard.

The 400 free relay team placed 10th in 3:31.10, with team members Theobald, the Sowards sisters and Breanna Salverson.

Freshman Elizabeth Sowards finished sixth in the 50 freestyle in :23.53, giving her three medals at her first state finals.

"My first goal was to make the finals, and to make the A finals was just a cherry on top," she said. "It was so fun to be in it, because once you're in, you're in. There's no going back down.

"Sixth place is phenomenal for my first year, and I'm really excited about it."

The Eagles placed ninth in the team race with 48 points, which was the first top-10 finish for a Peoria-area school since 1996.

"I think we had a fantastic meet," Dunlap coach Jim Bucher said. "I couldn't have asked for more.

"And for Emma to win state, it was great. She's trained with me and has been a leader all the way through her swimming career. I've never had a female that I've trained that has done as well as Emma has.

Peplowski finished third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.30. She also finished third in the event as a sophomore after winning it as a freshman.

"It's just crazy how fast my class has gotten," she said. "The time I won with freshman year was seventh this year. It's so awesome we could all be so fast."

Peplowski also finished seventh in the 200 IM for the fourth straight year, winning the B final in 2:02.73. That ended up being the sixth-best time in the finals, because she beat the time of one of the swimmers in the A final.

"That was pretty frustrating, but last year I think I was a little more upset about it," she said. "This year I just wanted to make the most of it, try to take seventh again and see if I could beat somebody in the A finals, which I ended up doing."

Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or at jcampos@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.