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This is one of the greatest times of the year. The weather is getting colder, the holidays are right around the corner — and that means it is playoff time for the Evanston girls swimming team. The Wildkits are confident they can perform well in the postseason.

“We have a very strong team, but nothing is ever guaranteed in swimming,” said ETHS senior Mariss Driscoll. “We are in a very tough conference in terms of skill level, but I think it just pushes us harder as a team and we have a winning season to show for it.”

In a home meet on Oct. 25, Driscoll took first place in the 50-yard freestyle on senior night against Rockford Guilford. “There is no better feeling than looking up at the clock and seeing that best time clocked in,” said Driscoll. The Kits won that meet 141-43.

At the final meet of the regular season on Oct. 31, the Kits fell to New Trier, 113-72. Sophomore Sarah Thompson took first place in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500 freestyle with times of 1.55.02 and 5.07.29. Kristine Walsh won the 200 individual medley and Roxy Capron took first in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Wildkits placed second in the conference, behind New Trier, at the Central Suburban League Championship on Nov. 8.

“We really swam well,” said Coach Kevin Auger. He said Thompson, Walsh and Capron each came away with wins in their events.

The Wildkits move on to sectionals at New Trier on Nov. 15; they will host the state finals on Nov. 21 and 22.

“I have every faith in the sectional team that they’ll swim their best and represent Evanston well,” said Driscoll.

“This is my senior year; I just wanted to accomplish some tough goals I set for myself. At the beginning of season, Coach Auger told me I was going to go under a minute by the end of season, which was relatively impossible for me, since I had a starting time of 1:06. Now I’m down to 1:01.99. It feels so good to know that coaches have faith in you and are willing to push you that much harder to see that goal achieved.”

Coach Auger’s encouragement seems to have paid dividends for this team, which is looking to match or improve on their eighth-place finish at State last season.