The Forest Scout 2017-18 Boys Swimming Preview


John Torosian

Winter sports have certainly began to start up, and varsity Boys Swimming and Diving is no exception, as the first practice was yesterday, November 20. Returning varsity Head Coach Cindy Dell was named the National Federation of High School Coaches’ Association 2016 Illinois Coach of the Year for Boys Swimming, but unfortunately the team lost their varsity Assistant Coach Tom Saleh.

In addition to the Assistant Coach, Boys Swimming and Diving lost ten seniors this past year to graduation (which happened to be over 50% of the team). Because of this, it’s expected that the swimmers will need some time to adjust to an entirely new roster. According to varsity member Carlos Minetti, a junior at LFHS, “It was definitely sad to see them all go, and their absence is going to have a huge impact on us this year.” That being said, four juniors from last year will be coming back for their senior season, and all four of these young men are captains this year. These captains, Collin Robinson, Will Paschke, Alex Ortiz, and Charlie Mickey, along with returning top competitors Luke Lanigan, Carlos Minetti, Joey Goodsir, Andre Josephitis, and Sam Olsen will undoubtedly contribute to hopefully yet another successful season for Boys Swimming. According to sophomore Luke Lanigan, “The captains are doing a great job of making everyone feel welcome… they’re also organizing more team events to build up the chemistry.”

Although all of the returning swimmers will make up a strong varsity team, newcomers to varsity will turn the ten man team into a real contender. Among these rookies are junior John Willford, the recipient of the JV Iron Scout Award who placed 10th in last year’s NSC JV Meet 100 butterfly, sophomore Peter Landis, winner of the JV Effort Award, and senior Stuart Kelso, who will be returning from his season-ending injury last year.

Swimming and Diving tends to be quite different from other sports in a few ways, such as the fact that it is quite common to see freshmen and sophomores on varsity. Last year, Joey Goodsir and Luke Lanigan, both freshmen at the time, managed to make a major impact while competing against kids possibly four years their senior. Junior Carlos Minetti, who has been on varsity all his high school career, informed me that Lanigan in particular “was definitely top eight or so last year in the 500 (freestyle), which is especially impressive considering most of the guys that he swam against were much older.” He went on to explain that he believes Luke will be extremely successful this year.

With these incredibly talented underclassmen making such a huge impact early in their high school swimming career, having great senior role models is a necessity. Senior captain Will Paschke told me, “When I came in as a freshman, the older guys were super nice and supportive. Now that I am one of those guys, I’ve found that it’s a very rewarding experience.”

In addition to competing against kids much older, varsity swimmers enjoy one of the most demanding sports at the school. Practices get started each morning before school, and after school the boys head down to the weight room. After a workout, they get back in the pool for their second swim of the day. Will Paschke informed me, “There’s a reason we have a pretty small roster. We practice ten times a week, not to mention at least two meets a week (sometimes Saturdays). It’s a lot of hours, but at the end it’s absolutely worth it.”

The first meet will be Saturday, December 2nd at 10 AM against Fremd. Five days later, Boys Swimming and Diving will take on Stevenson at 5 o’clock. Both of these will be home meets at the LFHS pool, and thus the varsity Boys Swimming and Diving team hopes to see a strong showing from the community in terms of attendance.