The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys swimming team heads into the Feb. 22 Fenwick Sectional poised on the brink of achieving its best showing in 50 years.
The Bulldogs put together a regular season that affirmed the high expectations they began the campaign with. Not only could they qualify several individuals and a couple of relay teams to the state meet, but a couple could bring home medals.
“The team has the talent and potential to be one of the best teams RB has ever had, but there’s work to be done and races to be swum,” RBHS coach Todd Frydrich said. “Right now we’re kind of in a holding pattern.”
Some say this is the best RBHS team since 1964, when the Bulldogs finished sixth in the state. Times are faster and points tougher to come by now, so a top 10 finish is unlikely, but the Bulldogs are demonstrating they are a team on the rise.
The Bulldogs won their own invite last month and finished second at the Lockport Invitational. No school records have fallen yet but the 200-yard medley relay team of juniors Kevin Garza, Christian Chavez and Quinn Risley and senior Tim Somers set a pool record when it won the RB Invite with a time of 1:40.64. That is just two seconds off the state qualifying standard and is the 19th best time in the state this season.
Risley, a two-event state qualifier last year, is having an outstanding season. He is ranked seventh in the state in the 50 freestyle and 23rd in the 100 freestyle. He is hoping to join older brother, Graham, as a state medalist. Graham was the most decorated swimmer in school history, having won three medals, including third-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly, before graduating in 2009 and swimming two years at Penn State.
“He’s having a nice year,” Frydrich said of Quinn Risley. “I think he’s got some lofty aspirations for himself.
“We’re hoping he gets a medal. That’s our goal for him. He’s only a junior so that would be a pretty big feat.”
That the Bulldogs are talking about winning medals is big in itself, considering only 10 swimmers in school history have won individual state medals.
Garza, who is ranked 22nd in the butterfly and 55th in the backstroke, is hoping to reach the podium as well. He was a state qualifier in the butterfly last winter.
“He would love to get a medal at the state meet,” Frydrich said.
The Bulldogs are also looking to qualify their 200 free relay, which currently is ranked 16th and sits just two seconds off the state cut. Somers, Risley, Anthony Colon and Christian Hernandez are the starters on that squad. The 400 free relay is ranked 35th but needs to drop nine seconds in order to advance.
One newcomer who is in the mix is freshman Joey Rosa, who is a threat to advance in threat to advance to state in the 200 individual medley and 500 free. “He’s swimming exceptionally well,” Frydrich said. “He has a world of potential and he’s only a freshman.”
While he is quietly optimistic, Frydrich said only time will tell if the Bulldogs can reach their goals.
“I always say the most important part of the season is at the end,” Frydrich said. “But the potential is there to have a great team by the end. We talked at the beginning of the season about setting individual and team goals and we’ve made sure we’ve stayed focused on those goals.”