The West Chicago Wildcat Championships was formatted along the lines of the state swimming meet, with preliminaries Friday and the contest for the top 12 spots Saturday.
The state format proved to be a showcase for the fast-developing Waubonsie Valley team which won the day with a pair of outstanding victories by Madeline Hunt and an excellent performance by the Warriors' 200 freestyle relay team.
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"We sat the 200 free relay team down during the week and challenged them to go under the 1:40 mark," said Waubonsie Valley coach Katie Peterson. "And they finished in 1:39.47, which puts them fourth in state in the Wildkit Aquatic standings. Their goal now is to make the state cut. They're setting their mind to what they want to try to do at the end of the season and they're working to accomplish it."
The relay team consisted of Alexa Steffl, Hunt, Emma Tinney and Avery Mathew, all of whom will figure strongly in the Warriors' postseason plans.
"Avery has really picked it up and she looks great in both the relays and in her individual races," said Steffl, who also finished second in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday. "And Emma's race in the winning relay was especially impressive because she was coming right off the 500 freestyle where she finished third."
Hunt, who missed the Warriors last two invites because she was away on college visits, got right back into form, winning both the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.
"It was a little weird getting back into competition," Hunt said. "But I'm happy with how I finished today. It feels good that I'm making progress with my strokes each time I get in the pool."
Hunt, who should be a contender for the state title in both events, was impressed with her team's performance at West Chicago.
"We had great energy there today," Hunt said. "You could feel the excitement behind the blocks."
The Warriors' medley relay team of Hunt, Paige Simpson, Steffl and Matthew finished second.
In addition Tinney was second in the 200 freestyle, Mathew was third in both the 50 and 100 freestyle.
"I'm really proud of our team," Steffl said. "We had some good swims and especially came together in the relays, which is so important for the postseason."
The Warriors finished the meet with 210 points, well ahead of Bartlett/Streamwood co-op, which scored 210. Lincoln-Way North was third with 181, and Glenbard West/South co-op followed with 177.