Varsity’s night off.
Boys swimming will be resting their top swimmers against last place Waukegan tonight, in order to give less-experienced swimmers the opportunity to swim varsity and JV events.
“Some swimmers need to show they can perform fast enough to earn these spots,” said junior Sean McGuire. “Swimming against each other is most important against weaker teams like Waukegan.”
This will be the last year that ETHS will swim against Waukegan in regular season conference action, as Waukegan will join the CSL North Division along with Vernon Hills next fall. Niles North will join the CSL South Division.
Senior captain Richard Alonso and McGuire agreed that Waukegan has a team full of good sportsmen.
“They’re the absolute nicest, most respectful and generous team in the state so it’s always an enjoyable meet,” McGuire added.
Wildkit Coach Kevin Auger’s teams have never lost a meet against Waukegan in his 21 years at ETHS.
“They don’t have the numbers that we do and they’ve never been able to keep up with us.” Auger said.
The Kits are currently tied for second in conference with Glenbrook South at 3-1 in conference meets. New Trier leads the conference with an undefeated record of 4-0, after defeating the Kits 112-58 last Friday.
Auger said swimming is different from most sports because the regular season records are irrelevant.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 0-20 or 20-0,” Auger said. “Eventually you all go to the same sectional and you go on to state from there.”
The Kits hope to grab second place from Glenbrook South when the conference meet comes around on Feb. 13 at New Trier and they will succeed if their strong depth pays off.
Looking past the conference meet, the boys will head to Niles North on Feb. 20 to compete in IHSA Sectionals. They will host the IHSA State Finals on Feb. 26 and 27.
The boys may cap off the regular season with a fun and relaxed attitude, but they need to be ready to preform to reach their end-of season potential.
According to Auger, the top swimmers for each stroke are butterflyer McGuire, breaststroker Alonso, Junior freestyler Evan Ziolkowski and Senior backstroker Zach Grossman-Torres.
Ziolkowski attributes his successful contributions to a new practice schedule that involves lifting in the mornings and pool training after school.
“We are tired when we are training and that is when it really pays off so when we rest for our conference and sectional meets we’ll do very well,” Ziolkowski said.