From a conditioning standpoint, the Lyons boys swimming team is about a month ahead of schedule, according to coach Scott Walker. Already bolstered by a first place finish in the Gold Division at the Stevenson invitational last weekend, the status of the Lyons program appears to be in great shape as well.

At the prestigious 14-team Stevenson invitational, the Lions captured second place overall and scored 258 to beat out solid teams like Stevenson (213) and Fenwick (195).

“We know we have a ton of talent,” Walker said. “The boys have come into this season already in great swimming shape, which usually takes about a month during the season to find. We can pick up right where we left off last year.”

The Lions, building off last season’s success which produced a 6-1 record, a sectional title, and eight individuals qualifying for state, have high expectations once again this year.

A strong senior class featuring Pete Cosentino, Paul Busse, Mark Nemecek and Scott Nemecek lead the Lions into the pool this season. Cosentino is a talented sprinter (50 freestyle) and relay specialist. Busse excels in distance swimming events like the 200 and 500 freestyle. The Nemecek brothers bring a variety of skills to the squad as Mark is a quality sprinter, while Scott will swim the breaststroke, butterfly and IM.

Junior Ross Ford, a butterfly and freestyle swimmer, also returns fresh off a 12th place finish at the state tournament. Along with Ford, fellow juniors Patrick Donovan (50, 100, 200 freestyle), Brad Wilson (backstroke, medley relay team) and Kevin Tully (200 IM, breaststroke, freestyle) offer Walker plenty of options to his lineup.

“We are extremely versatile,” Walker said. “I could put a lot of these kids in any event. The key for us will be to maintain our vision and take advantage of our opportunities. This is a good mix of swimmers from the freshmen all the way up to our seniors.”

The Lions also will look to some very talented sophomore and freshmen swimmers for help in attaining the team’s goals. Sophomores Joel Hladik will swim the 200 IM, while Peter Bruton and Patrick Weigand will compete in several different events. Freshman Sean Mulroy should also see action as a 200 IMer and freestyle swimmer.

Walker picks Hinsdale Central as the clear favorite to win the West Suburban (Silver) Conference race, but believes the Lions will be in the mix as well.

“I am really excited about this season,” said Walker, in his 12th season coaching at Lyons. “These kids are internally motivated and focused on doing very well.”