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Unable to schedule college visits for any other time except the month of September, Ana Woods made up for lost time Saturday at the Evanston Invitational swim meet.

The senior standout scored the Wildkits’ only win — with a time that was under the established Illinois High School Association state qualifying standard — in the 100-yard breaststroke, and teamed with Paige Haden, Iana Wolff and Mary Claire D’Arrigo for a second place finish in the 200 medley relay that was also better than the IHSA cut.

Woods sparked the host team to a 3rd place finish in the team standings under the NISCA (National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) point table that awards points based on times, not places. The Wildkits totaled 4,665 points and trailed only state powers Loyola Academy (5,023) and Lake Forest (4,814) in the 9-team field.

Woods, like most college seniors, is consumed these days by future plans while trying to maintain a balancing act with her day-to-day academic and athletic obligations. She spent the last three weekends visiting Georgia Tech, George Mason and Towson and still has another visit to California planned for next weekend.

Add in an extended routine of weight lifting instituted at this stage of the season by head coach Kevin Auger and Woods wasn’t the only one competing “tired” in a Wildkit swim suit on Saturday.

She still managed to post the 7th fastest time recorded in that race this fall in the state of Illinois.

“Senior year you’re exhausted in general, and I know I’m exhausted today,” said Woods after posting a winning time of 1 minute, 7.14 seconds in the breaststroke to nip Loyola Academy’s Claire Voss (1:07.59). “The last time I competed before yesterday was our dual meet with Loyola (Sept. 9). The traveling has taken its toll on me and so has trying to figure out where I’m going.

“The girl from Loyola (Voss) touched me out in the dual meet, so my goal today was to beat her and at least get under the state cut. I want to stay under the cut for as long as I can so I can get a good idea of how I’ll taper at the end of the year.

“Right now I think most of the team is tired. Kevin has started us doing a new thing with the weights (lifting three times a week) because he thinks the senior group can handle it, and to help prepare the four seniors who want to keep swimming in college.”

“We’re not really doing anything different when it comes to the lifting,” Auger explained, “we’re just doing a lot of circuit training and the lifting is making them sore, something they’re not used to. Usually I rely on the kids to do their lifting outside of the high school season, but this year I decided to emphasize some different things and work on our strength and our endurance more.

“I really wasn’t that surprised that we swam better today than we did yesterday (dual meet win over Niles West). I think the excitement of this meet brings out the best in our kids, and we had a lot of best times early in the meet. I was pretty happy about that.”

Haden (28.71 in the backstroke), Woods (29.3 in the breaststroke), Wolff (a sizzling 25.52 in the butterfly) and D’Arrigo (25.40 in the freestyle) combined for a second place time of 1:49 flat in the medley, behind Loyola’s 1:48.61 winning time. The state qualifying standard is 1:49.19.

“I was really happy with my split, because last season I didn’t go that low until the end of the season,” said Woods. “And Iana has been a lot faster already in her 50 fly than she was at the sectional last year, so the relay outlook is good. We should go state qualifying from now on when all four of us are together on the same team.”

Woods also contributed a 5th place finish in the open 50 freestyle, in 25.14, to go with a pair of 4th place finishes by Wolff in the 50 freestyle (25.10) and 100 butterfly (59.82). Junior Hanna Forbat added a solid 3rd place showing in the 200 individual medley in 2:15.77.

The Wildkits claimed 4th in the 200 freestyle relay as the quartet of Woods, Forbat, D’Arrigo and Wolff was clocked in 1:42.80.

Source: ETHS Sports Information

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