The Fenwick boys swimming team is quite optimistic about the 2004-2005 season. And why not? After finishing 10th in state last season, and winning the Metro Catholic Aquatic Conference championship, the Friars look to match last year's accomplishments?#34;at least. Their pre-season goal is to crack top 5 in the state, according to head coach Dave Perry.
"We have much more versatility this year, and our younger guys have trained really hard this past off-season, so I would say it's a very realistic goal," according to Perry.
Anchoring the strong Friar squad are returning seniors Mike Brown, Richard Butler, Oscar Calderon, and Jack Ryden. Brown and Ryden are sprint freestylers, while Butler and Calderon swim the butterfly. In addition to their corps of seniors, the Friars also return juniors Dan Wolack who swims breaststroke, as well as Matt Meyer and Pat Lloyd, both of whom swim backstroke. The Friars' wide range of returners swim a variety of different strokes which adds to the versatility that makes Fenwick a top-5 threat at this season's state championships, which take place Feb. 25 and 26 at New Trier High School. Fenwick will host the sectional meet on Saturday, Feb. 19.
But this Fenwick squad doesn't rely solely on veterans for their success. Several newcomers to the varsity level are looking to make a difference. Sophomores Luke Baldwin, Tommy Parollin, and Dave Meyer had a very strong off-season, according to coach Perry, and should bolster an already deep Fenwick squad.
A key to Fenwick's success this season should be their vigorous training this past off-season. While Fenwick doesn't have their own off-season swim club, according to Perry, a majority of the team swam almost year-round with their own clubs to stay in shape, some even through the fall. "A lot of our guys trained hard in the summer and the fall, and we should be coming into the season in very good shape," said Perry.
The Friars' toughest opponents this season look to be Benet (whom they meet along with OPRF on Jan. 5), St. Patrick, and Brother Rice high schools, but Perry says he is looking forward to all challenges, and that both he and his swimmers are coming in with enthusiasm.
"We're really looking forward to this season. We're in very good shape as a team, so we should have a very good season," said Perry.
The Friars' first test is against Evanston on Friday, a team that the Friars are itching to meet. "We'd really like to beat Evanston. We haven't beaten them in several years, so we're really looking forward to it."