He may be only four years in as the swimming coach at Riverside Brookfield, but Todd Fridrych offers a broader, even historical perspective about the immense potential of his team. Simply put, he feels this year’s Bulldogs posses the tools to be the best swim team at RB since the Reagan administration.

“This could be the best boys swimming team at RB in the last 25 years,” Fridrych said. “This is a very strong, experienced team that understands the sport well. As they develop their confidence, the potential is there for a phenomenal season.”

Of course, potential IS the operative word and must be fully realized to authenticate Fridrych’s lofty claim.

Leading the charge for the promising Bulldogs will be sophomore Graham Risley, the squad’s lone returning state qualifier. Last season, Risley qualified for state in two events-the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Fridrych plans to maximize his prized sophomore’s talent by also placing him in freestyle events.

“Graham is our physical leader and our most talented swimmer,” Fridrych said. “We’re expecting big things from him this season.”

A senior-laden team will back up Risley as the Bulldogs aim to dethrone four-time conference champ and chief rival Oswego. Kevin Wolak is a valuable backstroke and freestyle swimmer. Drew Clinton will swim butterfly and Greg Pawlik specializes in freestyle sprint events. Team captain Joe Kenehan will compete in the breaststroke.

“Oswego is the team we will be trying to knock off [in conference],” Fridrych said. “The key for us is just training. Our kids are in better shape physically and mentally. I think the team’s confidence will continue to develop as the season moves along.”

Junior Marius Aleksa is another swimmer that Fridrych feels can have a major impact this season.

“Marius has a good chance to qualify for state,” Fridrych said. “He’s a good sprinter and will swim butterfly for us.”

Sophomore Terry Crowley is also expected to contribute in many of the distance events.

With such an array of skilled swimmers, the Bulldogs have several goals on their agenda. RB wants to win its conference meet and earn a top three finish at sectionals. The Bulldogs also hope to qualify at least two freestyle swimmers for the state tournament.

“These guys understand that it’s most important to be hot at the end of the season,” Fridrych said. “The goals have been set. Now it’s just a matter of attaining them.”

Riverside-Brookfield caps off a busy opening week with a triangular meet on Friday against host Downers Grove South and Oak Park-River Forest.