Andrew Rosa (RBHS) competes in the 100 yard breaststroke. | Ian McLeod

Junior Cooper Marrs was among the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys swimming and diving teammates who continued the tradition of bleaching their hair for the Suburban Prairie Conference Meet. 

With this year’s meet at home on Feb. 4, the Bulldogs tried a new tradition — encouraging as many people possible to attend.

“I was excited that we swam in front of the most fans we’ve ever swam in front of. It was a ton of fun to swim in front of a bunch of people I know, a bunch of peers,” Marrs said. 

The Bulldogs responded with their best meet so far (238 points) to finish third behind Plainfield co-op (271) and Oswego co-op (263) and well ahead of fourth-place Joliet Township (137).

Junior Drew Rosa won the 100-yard breaststroke (59.72) and was second in the 100 butterfly (52.25). Freshman Oscar Bursua won diving (358.30 points).

“[The crowd] definitely helped a lot. It was super loud,” Rosa said. “There was a lot of people from our school here. It definitely helped with just encouraging us and helped us swim fast.” 

Marrs was second in the 100 backstroke (55.72) and contributed to the second-place 200 medley relay with Alex Jacobs, Rosa and twin brother Hayden Marrs (1:40.28).

Sophomore diver Nate Kissel (312.00) and the 200 free relay (Hayden Marrs, Lucas Hedrich, Rosa, Aiden Pankros in 1:29.53) were third. Finishing fourth were Hayden Marrs (50 free in 22.85) and the 400 free relay (Pankros, Jake Kocourek, Hedrich, Cooper Marrs in 3:22.91) with Marrs anchoring in 49.29.

“We swam really well. They had a good crowd for us, for all of the teams, and it was just a really good atmosphere for racing,” RBHS swim coach Mike Laurich said. “Any time you get a meet like this at your home pool and people show up to cheer for you, they responded well.”

With season bests in both individual races, Rosa won the 100 breast by .51 and broke 1:00 for the first time without a speed suit. He added to three individual titles over the previous two years. The 2021 SPC Meet concluded a COVID-shortened season.

“I was really close to both of the state cuts [59.24 and 51.90] so I’m really excited for that and I’ll be able to go even faster at sectionals when we’re tapered and suited up,” Rosa said. 

Bursua, who won by 39.40 points, and Kissel both achieved season-high point totals.

“We’ve been working hard on a ton of different things and today most of them went really well,” RBHS diving coach Amy Phillips said.

The Bulldogs compete at the Hinsdale Central Sectional on Feb. 18. With the Red Devils and Lyons Township among the field, the Bulldogs will need to achieve state-qualifying standards at the meet to earn state berths.

“We’re in a very, very competitive sectional,” Laurich said. “If the wind’s blowing the right way, we might be able to get a couple of people in there.”