This was St. Charles East's annual chance to see one of the best teams in the state as New Trier came to the Saints' annual College Events Meet.
The same might be said of the Trevians, who traveled to the Norris Center pool to meet a strong Saints team that has been showing its strength throughout the season.
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By meet's end, three-time defending state champion New Trier's depth showed in a 417-335 victory over St. Charles East. But the Saints more than proved their might with victories in eight of the meet's 15 events.
"We have a great team, top to bottom, a great family," St. Charles East coach Joe Cabel said. "We regarded the meet that our Thursday dual meet with Neuqua Valley was like prelims and today was finals, like the state meet. We did so well on Thursday that I wanted to swim a little faster today, and we did that, so that was good to see."
On a poolside white board, the Saints had a schedule for the day, which started with "7-9: Wake up/swim/practice" and ended with "3:45: We do great!" Finishing second to the state's top team at this point of the season while in the midst of their most difficult training routine of the season -- the Saints felt they met that goal.
"I think we did really well as a team," St. Charles East's Izzie Bindseil said. "It was a lot different coming to this meet, with a lot more competition than we've had so far in a lot of our meets. We came out and raced and we did well."
The Saints not only had New Trier at their invitational, but Lake Forest is strong this year and they engaged in a meet-long battle for second place with St. Charles East. A strong finishing third of the meet allowed the hosts to finish 15 points ahead of the Scouts.
"It definitely helps us race," Bindseil said. "We see faster kids from around the state and we look and have people really close to us when we're racing. The competition is good for us."
Bindseil swam a leg of St. Charles East's winning 400-yard medley relay, won the 200 freestyle and was second in the 500 freestyle.
"I think I did pretty well," Bindseil said. "I've stayed pretty consistent with my swims this season. I'm just glad I stayed with those times and even went just a little bit faster. We're all really tired right now. So all the swims that we had were good for the time of the season that it is."
Jordan Morling played a starring role for the Saints as well. She led off the winning 400 medley relay and won the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 400 IM events.
"We haven't been practicing with the double-distance events," Morling said. "So it was really nice to be able to see where we really were against some of the best teams in the state. It's awesome to be able to compare ourselves against (New Trier.)"
Morling was the only three-event winner in the meet.
"It's good to be able to race against this competition," Morling said. "It was fun."
Morling's season was highlighted recently when she set the team record in the 100 backstroke which had been held by Gretchen Verdoorn since 1992.
"It was a really good accomplishment," Morling said. "I wasn't expecting to do it at all. When I saw the board, I didn't know it initially, because (the record) wasn't on my radar screen. When someone told me, it was exciting."
Shea Hoyt won the 100 breaststroke and the 200 breaststroke and was part of the Saints' victorious 400 freestyle relay.
"It's really fun," Hoyt said. "It's really nerve-wracking when it's college events because we haven't been practicing for 200-yard races in our strokes. It's fun to see where we are, because these are the normal events in club swimming."
The Saints enjoyed their chance to see New Trier, which will be favored to win a fourth straight state title when it hosts the state meet Nov. 22-23.
"It's definitely intimidating," Hoyt said. "They're a really strong team, but we were going to bring our all. They don't intimidate us enough to make us scared. We're really strong this year. We're excited to have the meets coming up and we're going to rock it."
Lucy Johnson won the 200 butterfly with a standout 2:10.46 swim from Lane 1.
"I think we did really well today because New Trier's the top team in the state," Johnson said. "We've been training really hard. So to come out and get second is really good for us. I think going into state, we're going to be a lot more prepared because we've seen how they do in this kind of meet and we see how we do in this kind of meet."
Johnson also finished seventh in the 100 butterfly. "I think I did really well for being this tired," she said. "I was a little surprised I went 2:10 in the 200. But I thought it went really well."