Lily Consiglio’s best race of the season didn’t produce a single point for Evanston’s girls swim team Saturday at the Evanston Invitational.

But it did give the sophomore standout something to build on.

Disqualified for a lean at the start of the 100-yard butterfly race, Consiglio still played a major role in two relays and placed 4th in the 50 freestyle to lead ETHS to a second place finish in the team standings at the 15th annual competition.

As usual, points were determined by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association point table and not on actual places. Oswego outscored Evanston by a margin of 5,344 to 4,659 to snatch the title in the 9-team field, followed in order by Lake Forest (4,235), Loyola Academy (4,136) Germantown of Wisconsin (3,988), Addison Trail/Willowbrook (2,069), Peoria Notre Dame (1,603), Homewood-Flossmoor (1,595) and Northside College Prep (1,498).

Consiglio’s apparent win, in a time of 1:00.12, was wiped off the books and the false start was apparent to the Evanston bench, led by assistant coach Chuck Fargo. But Fargo wasn’t complaining in his role guiding the squad while head coach Kevin Auger was absent, attending a family wedding.

Fargo had urged Consiglio to start faster after her 50 freestyle effort (4th in 25.29) and Consiglio showed that she’s not only talented, she’s coachable.

That slight lean didn’t detract from the fact that she whipped top-seeded Alexa Szadorski of Oswego by half a second in the pool. High school swimming isn’t just about beating the clock — it’s about competing, too.

“At least she tried to get a better start, so I can live with that DQ,” Fargo explained. “And Lily won that race with her swimming, not with that start. She really slammed that girl.   I think, if anything, the start actually hurt her in the race.

“Her start hurt her in the 50 today and it hurt her in that race Wednesday night (dual meet against Glenbrook North), too. At some point she just gets stuck on her entry. But she definitely out-swam that Oswego girl today.”

Consiglio contributed strong legs for the 200 medley relay (3rd in 1:52.53) and 200 freestyle relay (2nd in a season-best 1:42.54), but confessed to mixed emotions about the outcome in the butterfly.

“It’s annoying because I can’t keep my hands together on my dive, but I’ve been trying to work on it,” Consiglio said. “It’s OK to make a mistake like that if you can learn from it. Except for that, I would have won that race and I would have been so proud of that! But it’s alright because I was happy with the way I swam.”

The mid-week dual meet occasionally crops up on the schedule depending on where the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah  falls on the calendar, and all of the ETHS swimmers had to adjust to having two days between competitions. “Having that meet in mid-week really did throw me off,” Consiglio said. “And we’ve been doing a lot of dryland training this week, so I was really sore this weekend.

“My times are definitely better this year — except maybe in the fly, but it’s progressing. In the past I haven’t worked as hard as I did this summer for my club team (Flying Fish). I spent a lot more time training and I didn’t miss many practices, like I used to. I went on a training trip to Florida for the first time, and I also did a lot more dryland training on my own. I think I’m a lot more dedicated to my training now.

“After State last year (she qualified in 2 individual events and 2 relays as a freshman) it made me realize how much harder I had to work. Coming into high school swimming, I was scared and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how the work I was doing would pay off. Now, I have a better idea of what to expect.”

Consiglio’s goals aren’t exactly modest. She’s taking aim on the ETHS school records in both the butterfly and 50 freestyle, and an improved work ethic could take her down that path.

Saturday, she turned in the fastest leg in the 200 freestyle relay (25.31), but teammates Erin Long (25.63), Samantha Rhodes (25.86) and Mina Dizdarevic (25.74) all broke 26 seconds and trailed only Oswego, which was just off the meet record of 1:38.33 with an effort of 1:38.80.

The team of Consiglio, Mackenzie Tucker, Rhodes and Natalie Long placed 3rd in the 200 medley relay in 1:52.53, and the 400 freestyle relay quartet of Tucker, Natalie Long, Erin Long and Caroline Chapon also earned 3rd, in 3:44.41.

Scoring top 5 individual finishes for ETHS were Rhodes, 3rd in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.49 and 4th in the 200 individual medley in 2:14.96; Erin Long, 3rd in the 200 freestyle in 1:59.51 and 4th in the 100 freestyle in 54.04; Tucker, 5th in both the 100 backstroke (1:03.04) and 200 IM (2:18 flat); and Natalie Long, 5th in the 50 freestyle in 25.72.   

Dennis Mahoney

Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for Evanston Township High School.

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