The Fenwick girls water polo team has a new leader this season, as former player and assistant coach Elizabeth Timmons takes over from longtime head coach Jack Wagner, who retired last year. 

“I know I have a lot to prove and live up to in this role,” said Timmons, a 2004 Fenwick graduate who teaches science at the school, in an email. “It won’t be easy to fill the shoes of those who have come before me, including Jack Wagner and Dave Perry — my first coach and dad. I’m hoping to continue the tradition of excellence and am excited for all the possibilities to come in the future.”

Perry, Timmons’ father, was the legendary coach who led the Fenwick boys water polo team to nine IHSA state championships. Her brother, Kyle Perry, a 2001 Fenwick graduate and an English teacher there, is the boys water polo coach.

While there isn’t the same amount of experience on the girls team as usual, Timmons feels a mix of talented newcomers along with the few returning veterans should make for a competitive team. Yet she also admits it may take some time for the Friars to jell as a unit.

“Having less pool time due to COVID-19 has meant a little restructuring. I am still figuring out the best places to use people as I get to know the girls and their individual strengths,” Timmons said. “This year will definitely be fluid as we will be making adjustments so I can ensure we are utilizing each player to their maximum potential.”

The faces may be different, but the goal of the Fenwick program remains the same: to improve as the season progresses and be in position to vie for a state title. Under Wagner, the Friars amassed 10 state championships. Timmons believes the team can build upon this legacy, but it will take plenty of work to accomplish this.

“I believe the girls are excited to continue this tradition this year, but in order to be successful, we need to get a little more cohesion with the group we have,” she said. “We’re looking forward to the postseason opportunities, but we have a lot of work to do before we get there.”

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