OPRF to take plunge with young team

Pool of freshman to be counted on this season

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By BRAD SPENCER

The Oak Park and River Forest girls' swim team last week was no doubt eager to begin preparation for the upcoming season. The only problem was finding a pool to practice in.

Due to work being done on both OPRF's pools, the Huskies were temporarily homeless, forced to swim one evening at Ridgeland Commons.

"It was actually quite nice to have a practice elsewhere," said head coach Clyde Lundgren. "It was a nice evening outside."

Lundgren and the Huskies were back in their pool the following day, gearing up for a run at the successful season. Back to help steer the team through sectionals again are Lauren Daggett, Lauren Gumbel, Sarah Helwig, Emily Japlon, Megan Rigali, Rachel Velasquez, and Ali Williams.

Daggett, Rigali and Japlon advanced to State last year. Daggett will again factor into the medley relay, said Lundgren, along with Rigali, who last season narrowly missed making it to State in the 200 individual medley. Japlon is expected to compete in the 400 freestyle and the breaststroke.

Lundgren said he hopes to get a lot of help from his freshman group that includes Johanna Evans, Olivia Japlon, Jenna Kirk, Lori Mansfield, Ali Stefanik, and Maddie Thueson.

"It's relatively a young team, but I see a lot of potential," said Lundgren. "We graduated a good chunk of our relays from last year, so finding replacements is our priority right now."

One change in strategy Lundgren said he's going to make this season is resting the team before sectionals.

"Last year we weren't fully rested. This year we're going to drop the bottom out and rest," he said.

It looks to be the usual suspects with Hinsdale Central, Downers Grove North and Lyons Township expected to vie for the top spot in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference. The Huskies finished fourth last year in the stocked WSC.

"It's not an easy conference," said Lundgren. "It could take some time for us."

The Huskies make their splash into the season tomorrow (Thursday) at Sandburg.

Contact: bspencer@wjinc.com

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