It could be a banner year for the Lyons Township boys' swimming team.
If their performance on December 3 is any indication, LT is well on its way to bringing the respect back to the Lions swimming program, according to coach Scott Walker.
"We just got done competing against Fenwick and Stevenson in a 16-team invite at the Stevenson invitational," he said. "We tied for second with Stevenson, which met our goal of finishing in the top three. We have the Marmion Invite in two weeks and I think the guys will be even better then.
"Our program hasn't really been in the thick of things the last few years, but we are starting to get some respect back and we have the youth to carry us. We get a new pool in May and I think that will raise our program to another level as well."
Leading the Lions run toward capturing a West Suburban (Silver) Conference title is senior co-captain, John Harris. Harris will compete in the freestyle and butterfly events. Senior Drew Stevens is LT's other co-captain and will compete in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle. LT also boasts a solid core of juniors. Pete Cosentino will swim in the 50 freestyle and in the medley as a breaststroker. Cosentino was a State qualifier as a sophomore in two relays and just missed the 50 freestyle as an individual.
Twins Scott and Mark Nemecek will also make an impact this season. Scott competes in the individual medley and breaststroke, while Mark competes in the freestyle. Junior Paul Busse will swim the 500 freestyle and will also be a major part of LT's team.
While the upper-classmen are an integral part of the team, the talented LT sophomore class will ensure many good years to come. Brad Wilson leads the way in the backstroke and freestyle. Pat Donovan will compete in the IM, backstroke and freestyle events. Ross Ford will swim in the freestyle and butterfly events. Kevin Tully punctuates the talented sophomore class and will compete in the freestyle, breaststroke and IM.
Rounding out the LT squad are freshmen Peter Bruton, who will compete in the freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. Joe Hladik, will swim in the IM, breaststroke and freestyle.
"These guys will probably end up breaking all three relay records that were set in 1997, so there is a lot of history that is going to be made," said Walker. "Ford already holds the butterfly record. We often talk about what we need to build on, but because we are so young, we have to think about this year catapulting us to next year as well."
Walker has many goals for his team this year. One goal is to beat perennial powerhouse Hinsdale South in a dual meet on Jan. 13 and the second is to try to win the conference. "I think all of (our) goals are well within our reach," he said. "I really don't throw stuff out to kids if I didn't think they had a good chance to reach that goal."