By Marty Farmer
The rare combination of two brothers and two divers from the Riverside-Brookfield High School swimming team qualified for the IHSA State Meet last season. With the exception of Joey Rosa, all are back this season leading the Bulldogs with their talent and experience.
Junior Michael Rosa and senior divers Ja'moni Wise and Matthew Bielobradek comprise the trio of returning state qualifiers.
"Last year was the first time in program history that we sent two divers to state, so that was pretty special," RBHS coach Graham Risley said. "Ja'moni and Matthew are both looking to make state again. Michael also returns as a very talented swimmer who will make another run at the state meet."
Rosa swam the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 59.09 seconds to place fifth at the Downers Grove South Sectional last season. He appears poised for another stellar campaign this winter.
"Michael is our best swimmer on the team," said Risley, the most decorated swimmer in RBHS history. "He contributes in a big way on all our relays. Last year, he made state in the 100 breaststroke. This year, he looks to do the same plus make it in a second event, most likely the 200 IM."
In diving, Bielobradek and Wise punched their ticket to the state meet last season by placing fifth (436.40) and sixth (398.25), respectively, at the Downers Grove Sectional.
Although the team lost its top two freestyle swimmers in Joey Rosa and Michael Georgopulos to graduation, a relatively experienced group returns for RBHS. Joey Rosa qualified for state last year in the 100-yard freestyle with a sectional runner-up time of 47.24.
Along with the three state qualifiers, seniors Matt Harder and Ben Regan, juniors Peter Baartman and Chris Murphy, and sophomore Nolan Dowling are key contributors for the Bulldogs.
Newcomers Noah Breit and Jose Macias are nice additions to the varsity.
"Noah and Jose are talented swimmers," Risley said. "They are already making a big impact on the team."
The Bulldogs, who finished second in conference last year, should battle Plainfield for the championship this season.
Over the weekend, RBHS placed third with 299 points at the Downers Grove South Invite. Fenwick (449) won the title and Stagg (417) finished second.
The Bulldogs are 1-1 in dual meets this season, with an 88-87 win over Homewood-Flossmoor on Dec. 5 and a 126-80 loss against Oak Park and River Forest on Dec. 12. Dowling, Harder, Baartman, Murphy, Breit and Matt Towner all swam season-best times against OPRF.
In the season opener, RBHS earned second in the Blue Division of the Maine East Relays.