Last season the Evanston girls swim team finished sixth in the State meet, and the Wildkits hope for a better outcome this season. In a recent poll, the Kits were ranked third in the Chicago Tribune’s girls top swimming teams.
In the Aug. 27 season opener, the Kits beat Naperville North, 102-84. On Sept 3, however, they lost to Loyola, 105-81.
“[We worry about] only our own expectations. We won’t worry what other people think,” said head coach Kevin Auger, regarding the possibility of added pressure after having done so well last year.
“There’s definitely added pressure on the team to do better than last year, but I think we can do it,” added senior Jane Munro.
The upcoming schedule includes meets against Deerfield on Sept. 25 and Niles West on Oct. 2. The Kits host the Evanston Invite on Oct. 3.
Archrival New Trier and Barrington stand out to Kit swimmers as tough competition.
“We’re looking forward to swimming against Barrington and New Trier because they’re going to be tough teams to beat and the added competition always makes us swim faster,” said Munro.
Senior Kristina Walsh added, “New Trier and Barrington are always very exciting meets, because our entire team gets really pumped to swim well. This year there is some added pressure to do well against New Trier because they’re ranked second in the state and we’re close behind them in third. Barrington has always been a difficult meet for us, but we have come very close to beating them in the past. This year, in particular, I think we have a good chance of winning. … [O]ur team not only has depth in individual events but also has many returning swimmers on our relays.”
On Sept. 12, the Kits lost to Barrington, and on Sept. 11 they beat Lake Forest. “[In the Barrington meet] they were just a better team than us because they had more depth. We beat them in the 400-free relay but we just couldn’t keep up with their other relays,” added Munro.
“Our goal is to get a trophy [which means finishing as one of the top three teams in State] and take back the state record in the 200-medley relay. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think we can do it,” said Munro.
In order to earn a top-three finish in State and win a trophy for the first time since 1989, Munro and Walsh said they believe working hard and staying focused is vital to reaching that goal.
“The key to success this year is to always ‘keep your eyes on the prize’. We just have to always be focused and never lose sight of our goals,” adds Munro.
Walsh says, “Training hard and focusing during practices are very important parts of preparing to swim well. So we push ourselves as hard as we can in preparation for doing our best. We’ve also been working on the little details that can improve our races — like starts, turns, and relay takeovers. Hopefully, our hard work and attention to important details will help us succeed.”
If all goes according to plan and the Kits swim to their potential, look for them to be hoisting a state trophy come November.