The Riverside-Brookfield boys swimming team is already eyeing the State meet.
The season does not hit full throttle for another week, but RB coach Todd Fridrych has already seen a talented and focused squad in early-season practices.
"The boys hit the pool the week of Thanksgiving and have been training hard ever since," he said. "I really think this season is going to be better than the recent past. We have a ton of talent, but we are still young, so that means we will only get better for years to come.
"I am really setting the bar high this year and I think the guys will meet my expectations."
Freshman phenom Graham Risley will lead the Bulldog attack this season. Risley has already posted good enough times to qualify for State competition; now it is just a question of what events Fridrych would like him to focus upon. Risley's impact on the team has been immediate because of his ability to push his teammates, according to Fridrych.
While the core of the Bulldog team is undeniably young, Fridrych will rely on seniors Doug Lance and co-captain Chris Dunigan to lead the way. The past two years, Lance has dropped 40 seconds off his time in the 500 freestyle and has a good chance of qualifying for State in the 500, Fridrych said.
The junior class, however, boasts most of the RB talent, despite most of its members never competitively swimming before attending RB. Junior Joe Kenahan is the Bulldogs other co-captain and is the squads' top breaststroker. Fridrych also expects junior Drew Clinton to qualify for State in the butterfly.
Juniors Greg Pawlik and Kevin Wolak will also play major roles, competing in any event that Fridrych places them. Sam Lauritsen, will swim the 50 and 100 freestyle. Sophomore Marius Aleksa, who grew up training with Risley, is also poised to make a big splash this year in the freestyle sprint events, while sophomore Brian Schreidt is RB's number two breaststroker and will be relied upon to star in big meets. Sophomore Tom Tischler rounds out the talented sophomore class. Freshman Terry Crowley is another well rounded swimmer and will be used in every event, according to Fridrych.
With such a talented stable of swimmers, Fridrych and Co. are poised to bring prominence back to the RB swimming program. Fridrych only sees a slight weakness in the mid-distance events, but with that slight blemish, RB should be a force to be reckoned with this season.
"Our main goal is to win the Suburban Prairie (East) Conference," he said. "We won in 2002, and we are hoping this is our year to once again claim the championship. As for sectionals, our goal is to finish third, because we know Fenwick and Oak Park will be hard to catch. But, I do think we can give St. Patrick's a run for third.
"We are setting the standards high, but the guys are committed and I am really looking forward to watching them swim at the end of the year."