Written by Dennis Mahoney.
At one point during the Trevian Relays swim invitational on Saturday, Evanston sophomore Honore Collins remarked to the Wildkit coaching staff that she didn’t want to warm up for her next race “because I’m just so tired.”
The remark was said half in jest, and naturally, Collins jumped in to complete her warmups. But swimming tired is what it’s all about for the Wildkits at this point in their training for a final push in the postseason.
Considering all that, Evanston earned a sixth place finish in the team standings behind a big contribution from Collins, who placed in the top seven in two individual events and also helped two of Evanston’s junior varsity relay units place in the top three.
It all added up to 89 team points as coach Kevin Auger’s squad climbed two places in the team standings compared to last year, against some of the elite swimmers in the state of Illinois. Defending state champion New Trier racked up 178 points to beat out Fenwick (134), Lake Forest (112), Barrington (92), Naperville North (91) and ETHS in the 12-team field.
“What we all learned today is that we can swim well even when we’re tired,” Auger said. “Other teams may be more rested at this point in their seasons, but right now we’re training pretty hard. Today we had no one who was appreciably off of their season bests by more than a couple of seconds or tenths of a second, so I’m pretty happy with their performances.
“We had 100 percent season best times on that last (varsity 400-yard freestyle) relay because they knew we were fighting for points. This is a meet where everyone has to pitch in, because everyone’s time counts. We just told them all to get up and go fast even if they were sore and tired.”
The meet format counted the combined times of two swimmers per individual event, and three JV relay races along with three varsity relay events.
Collins captured sixth place in the 100-yard backstroke, in 1:00.56, after earlier placing seventh in the 200 individual medley in 2:14.21. She also swam leadoff legs in the JV 200 medley ( 28.32 second split) and 400 freestyle (55.86) relays that took second and third, respectively.
The sophomore standout’s time in the backstroke was exactly one second slower than the Illinois High School Association state qualifying standard in that event, and left no doubt that she’ll get under it by the end of the regular season.
“Any time you get a double zero, that’s good,” Auger pointed out. “She’s been very consistent for us all year, no matter what event she swims, and that’s what we’re looking for at this time of year. She’s faster than she’s ever been in her life right now.”
Collins combined with Ana Woods, Iana Wolff and Millie Rosen for a second place time of 1:50.76, and teamed with Rosen, Paige Haden and Alyssa Nichols for a third place showing in the 400 freestyle in 3:46.90.
Wolff added a seventh in the 100 butterfly (1:00.73) and Woods churned to seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.06), as both were just off their season bests, too.
Evanston also counted a third place effort from the JV 200 freestyle relay foursome of Rosen, Wolff, Haden and Woods in 1:42.77.