Focused on improving their third place finish at state last year and qualifying for every event at this year’s IHSA State Meet, the Fenwick swim team felt extremely well positioned for a serious run at a top three showing.
On Saturday afternoon in Winnetka, the Friars’ plan for success went awry-in some respects by no fault of their own. Fenwick actually swam comparable times to last year’s highly productive marks in several events but fell to 12th place in the final team standings. Paced by prohibitive favorite New Trier, the talented field simply clocked in faster times at this year’s meet.
The host Trevians, who won all three relay events, became the first school to repeat as state champions since Fremd in 1994-95 and captured their third title in four years with 177 points. Glenbrook South (129), Neuqua Valley (108), Naperville North (108) and St. Charles North (105) rounded out the top five teams.
Multiple individual event winners included: Brian Alden (Neuqua Valley) 50-yard freestyle (20.14) and 100-yard freestyle (44.86), Brett Lullo (Naperville Central) 200-yard IM (1:50.57) and 100-yard butterfly (49.57) and Chris Peterson (St. Charles North) 200-yard freestyle (1:39.74) and 500-yard freestyle (4:34.40).
The Friars (77 points) had three shots at placing in the relay events. Fenwick garnered a pair of ninth place finishes in the 200-yard medley relay (1:37.72) with Mike Mackin, Brian Barron, Luke Baldwin, John Barrett, and the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:26.48) with Tom Parolin, Dave Meyer, Baldwin, and Barrett. In the final relay event of the day, the Friars’ 400-yard freestyle relay team comprised of Parolin, Barrett, Baldwin and Meyer swam a time of 3:11.23 to finish 10th.
“We had one of those meets [today] where we swam fairly well, but the times were faster this year,” said Fenwick coach Dave Perry. “The boys are disappointed because we did not do as well as we anticipated. They swam fast, just not fast enough.”
In individual competition, Parolin finished sixth a second consecutive year in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:42.59. The Princeton-bound senior also earned a 12th place finish in the 100-yard butterfly touching the wall at 51.98.
“I was a little disappointed because I wanted to win my events this year,” Parolin said. “These kids come out and they are just as fast as you so it gets harder every year. I’m still happy though to get sixth place in the 200 and get some points for my team.”
Mike Mackin took sixth in the 100-yard backstroke (52.79) for the Friars.
“I thought the timing system of this state meet was a little off,” Perry said. “There really wasn’t a fluid motion this year with a lot of stops and starts, but we still had our chances to swim well. This has been a very good group of kids.”
The Friars enjoyed a successful season highlighted by a second place finish at the Metro Catholic Aquatics Conference championships and also a sectional championship.
While several outstanding swimmers like Dave Meyer, Chris Bonk, Mackin, Barron, Baldwin and Barrett will graduate this spring, Perry knows he will have plenty of returning talent at his disposal.
“Some of our swimmers will have to step up and flourish, and I’m confident they will,” said Perry. “A lot of these kids swim over the summer so they’ll put in the work.”
Brian Barron, Dan Barron, Chris Wendt, Matt Napleton and Craig Borkovec are expected to lead the Friars next season.