Every one of the swimmers who competed for Evanston at Saturday’s Central Suburban League South division championship meet — all 14 of them — earned at least one medal.

That’s the kind of effort that usually delivers a championship.

The Wildkit girls hit perennial league powerhouse New Trier with a tidal wave of depth and captured the meet championship for only the second time in school history, shocking the Trevians by outscoring them 468-452. Next best in order were Glenbrook South (217), Maine South (132), Niles West (100) and Waukegan (24).

It’s the first time Evanston has ruled the season-ending championship meet since 1989. And Saturday’s across-the-board time drops at the Burton Aquatic Center brought the Kits a share of just their third conference crown in the history of the program, dating back to the 1970s. ETHS tied New Trier for the title in 2006 after winning the head-to-head dual meet between the two rivals, then finishing 2nd to the Trevians at the championship meet.

Evanston just missed a sweep of all three relay races and crowned four individual champs to secure the upset.

Based on seed times and the pre-meet calculations by the ETHS coaching staff, New Trier was favored by 79 points over the Wildkits. But Maddie Managlia and the rest of the senior class knew that a team victory wasn’t out of reach for the hosts in their final appearance in their home pool.

“We beat New Trier when we were freshmen, and four years later, it just feels amazing!” exclaimed Managalia, who did her part with an unexpected victory in the 100-yard backstroke (in 59 seconds flat) and a runnerup finish in the 100 butterfly (1:00.17). “It’s the best feeling in the world. Any time you can beat New Trier, it’s a big deal.

“We had it in our hearts, that we could do it if we swam amazing today.”

Season best times in 26 of a possible 27 individual races certainly lived up to that “amazing” description.

“Every last swimmer contributed today and we really needed that because it was a bloody close meet,” said ETHS head coach Kevin Auger. “Event after event, we kept getting 3 girls in the top 6, and that’s what you have to do to win a meet like this.

“For sure, New Trier had the edge on us coming into the meet. But I’m only surprised that our girls are this shocked. They worked so hard for this and everybody dropped time today. I thought winning the short (200-yard freestyle) relay was pivotal for us, because nobody expected us to win that one. Everyone’s always talking about our medley relay, but with Honore Collins back (from shoulder surgery in the summer) I think we’re one of the top six teams in the state in that race. too.”

Seniors Iana Wolff (100 butterfly) and Ana Woods (100 breaststroke) repeated as conference champions in those races and were joined by Managlia (backstroke) and sophomore Clio Hancock (2:12.07 in the 200 individual medley) as gold medal winners.

Paige Haden, Woods, Wolff and Collins ruled the 200 medley relay in 1:48.37, and the ETHS foursome of Woods, Collins, Wolff and junior Mary Claire D’Arrigo touched the wall first in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:38.22, half a second faster than favored New Trier.

Freshman diver Lucy Hogan (493.20 points) and New Trier champion Jessie Creed (500.05) both broke the conference record in their specialty. Also earning runnerup individual honors were sophomore Katy Donati, 1:58.73 in the 200 freestyle; Wolf, 24.84 in the 50 freestyle; Managlia, 1:00.17 in the butterfly; Woods, 54.27 in the 100 freestyle; and Haden, 59.97 in the backstroke where she was the defending champ.

Wolff lived up to her No. 1 seed in the butterfly with a winning time of 57.97 that was almost three seconds quicker than the next finisher, Managlia. But there was some doubt about whether Woods could pull off a repeat in the breaststroke — at least in her own mind.

“I wasn’t thinking it’s my title and I have to win it again, or anything like that. I was just very concerned about my time, because I’ve only been in the 1:07s all year,” Woods confessed. “I wasn’t at the same point I was last year (time-wise), but today I was able to skip the 1:06s completely and get down to 1:05 (1:05.41, a conference record). I’m very excited that I was able to do that today.

“This was definitely a total team effort today. We had big drops, everyone at least got one medal, and next week I think we can continue to drop time (at the Glenbrook North Sectional).”

Hancock’s win in the 200 individual medley represented a drop of more than six seconds for the sophomore standout, who was only seeded third. Hancock’s victory and an earlier 3-6 finish from sophomore Meredith Long and senior Rebecca Schumm — although neither competed in the fastest heat in that race — helped provide some early momentum for the hosts.

D’Arrigo and Olivia Everhart matched that effort in the second fastest heat in the 100 freestyle to also supply key points on a day where every swim counted.

Source: ETHS Sports Information

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