Teams with younger than young athletes seems to be the norm at Fenwick. The school boasts a renowned girls' basketball team, currently ranked No. 5 in the state, where four starters are sophomores. But there's another team at Fenwick just as young, and proving to be just as dominant: the boys' swim team.
With six sophomores and four juniors, the Friars won their second consecutive Metro Catholic Aquatics Conference title in their home pool on Saturday by garnering 396 points. The closest any team came to Fenwick was Loyola, who finished with 353. Marmion rounded out third with 283.5 points.
Winning the 200-yard medley relay set the tone for Fenwick's success at the meet. Luke Baldwin, Richard Butler, Patrick Lloyd and Mike Brown swam to first place with a time of 1:41 flat. The Ramblers, seeded higher than the Friars in the event, came in a hair-line second at 1:41.2.
"The 200 medley really fired up the team," said Fenwick head coach Dave Perry. "We wanted to win all three relays, but winning two out of the three was good too. It was a great way to get things started."
Brown, Lloyd, John Barrett, and Tom Parolin won the 400-yard relay in 3:17.24. Barrett and Parolin, both sophomores, were instrumental in leading the Friars to first place. Barrett won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:48.41 and the 500-yard freestyle in 4:53.08. Parolin finished second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of :55.11. He also finished third in the 200-yard freestyle.
Luke Baldwin splashed to first place in both the 200-yard individual medley (2:02.09) and the 100-yard backstroke (:55.07).
Perry said he wasn't surprised that Loyola stuck so close to the Friars throughout the meet.
"We knew it was going to be close. Loyola is young, skillful and talented," he said. "In a way, they're a lot like us. It came down to who was going to stay focused."
Other contributors included Chris Jones, who placed fourth in the diving event with a final score of 343.80. Ryan Sullivan followed his teammate with a fifth place finish (261.85). Dan Wolak placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of :23.01. He also placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:07.68 and was a member of the 200-yard freestyle relay teamâ€"along with Jack Ryden, Mark Melnyk, and Brownâ€"that placed second with a time of 1:30.17.
Fenwick last won back-to-back conference titles in 1999 and 2000.
The Friars will try and keep their momentum rolling when they host the Oak Park Sectional on Feb. 19. Perry said he's optimistic the team will do well.
"The sectional isn't as strong as it has been in year's past, but teams like OPRF and St. Patrick's are always a threat. We just need to keep up our confidence."
Fenwick's junior varsity team wasn't about to be upstaged by its young varsity squad. The JV Friars also won the MCAC, edging St. Ignatius 334-329.