The Oracle

Undefeated Titans gearing up for late-season meets

DASHIN’ DANNY: Grabbing a breath, senior Danny Correa races through the breaststroke leg of the 200 yard medley relay Jan. 26 against Evanston. Correa, whose primary stroke is breaststroke, is in his first year on varsity. His season-best 100 yard breaststroke time of 1:06.43 trails only sophomore Jon Salomon among the Titans’ top times this year.

John Adkisson, co-Sports Editor

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Heading into the final stretch of the season, the men’s varsity swim team has
amassed a record of 7-0 in dual meets, including a 5-0 record in CSL South meets.

According to head coach Keith MacDonald, despite the start of the season being easier than the end of the season, the team has met
and exceeded expectations.

“I think we have done really well,” MacDonald said. “We haven’t had a lot of competition. We have been better than most of
our opponents.”

The start of the season was met with uncertainties about how well the team could
do, according to MacDonald, due to the loss of State-qualifying alums Ryan Brander, Ryan Hianik, J.J. Connor and Thomas
Pollick. However, MacDonald feels that the team has adjusted nicely.

“Each year we usually have guys step up to try and fill that void,” MacDonald said. “Even though we lost a good amount
of seniors, we still have a relatively strong
team.”

According to senior Ethan Spalding, the depth of the team was showcased at the Spartan Sprint Classic Dec. 8. Going into the meet the Titans were not ranked in the top 20, while opponents St. Charles North and Mundelein were ranked in the top five and top 10 respectively, according to Wildkit Aquatics. In the final event, an unorthodox 12×25 sprint relay, sophomore Jon Salomon overtook a St. Charles North sprinter on the last leg to win the meet for the Titans.

South’s squad, according to MacDonald, is relatively inexperienced at the varsity level. However, MacDonald feels that this quality has not crippled the team.

“We do not have a lot of guys coming back who had State meet experience,” MacDonald said. “For the most part, the guys that are new to varsity have handled it and accepted it well.”

According to Spalding, who along with Salomon and junior Kevin Benson are the only returning state qualifiers on the Titans’ roster, youth is a key ingredient to the team this year. Spalding feels that while the underclassmen have had success, the seniors need to work especially hard for the team to reach its true potential.

“[The team’s youth] puts the onus on us seniors to work to get those young swimmers to perform better in practice and understand the rigors of the varsity season,” Spalding said. “It’s something that will show its effect [not only] at the end of this year but also further beyond.”

MacDonald and Spalding agree that the team has had a solid foundation of swimmers this year. According to MacDonald, seniors Tommy Cahill and Bob Meyer have been very successful sprinters, while Spalding has competed well in distance swimming.

Additionally, Spalding cites juniors Seamus Heneghan and Jake Nelson as the team’s x-factors. Despite an undefeated record thus far, MacDonald feels that the hardest part of the season is yet to come, as postseason meets are quickly approaching. However, MacDonald trusts that the team will step up when it is time.

“The end of the year is the most important for swimming,” MacDonald said. “I’m sure guys will stumble and succeed in peaks and valleys in the next few weeks, but as long as we’ve got our eyes set on the very end of the season, they’ll do fine. It has worked in the past that guys have swam fast at the end of the year, and I expect that it will work this year.”

Looking forward, the team ultimately hopes to earn a top 10 finish at the State meet. To prepare, MacDonald says that it is time for the team to slow things down and keep their bodies healthy for the rest of the season.

“It’s pretty smooth sailing from here,” MacDonald said. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work, so there is still a good amount of work to do, but we are going to start easing off. The important thing is to rest, relax and sprint very hard in practice without getting run down. That
right there is a recipe for success at the end of the season.”

Spalding echoes MacDonald’s sentiments about the end of the season and also feels that the team is primed for a successful end of the season, which includes conference Feb. 9, Sectionals Feb. 16, and the IHSA state meet Feb. 22-23.

“I’m excited for the end of the year,” Spalding said. “I think we have the potential to be a very good team.”

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Undefeated Titans gearing up for late-season meets