What the South Elgin boys' swimming team lacks in experience, it makes up for in desire.
"If the boys continue to work as hard as they are, they are going to see some great time drops as the season progresses," said South Elgin coach Tim O'Grady.
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The Storm is led by seniors Alex Duffy and Richard Groenewegen, along with junior Matt Rueger.
Duffy, who swims in the off-season with the St. Charles Swim Team, has gone 52 seconds this year in the 100 butterfly, while Groenewegen, who swam for a club team in the Netherlands this past season, has swam 0:51 in the 100, 1:46 in the 200 and 0:23 in the 50. Rueger swims the backstroke and the 100.
"Alex is taking those skills and his leadership skills to develop the new South Elgin team," said O'Grady. "He represents South Elgin well by being both a great swimmer and a great leader. Richard also is coming in with great experience from his club team in the Netherlands. He also represents the school well with his talent in the pool and his leadership with his teammates."
O'Grady noted there is plenty of opportunity for swimmers on the roster this season.
"Alex, Richard and Matt will be looking for a fourth standout to join them for a fast relay," said O'Grady. "We have a new team. Whoever works the hardest and becomes the fastest will be joining those three swimmers with experience. We have 27 swimmers who are either new to the sport or have only a little experience. So far they are working super-hard under the great leadership of Alex and Richard."
District 300 co-op update: The District 300 co-op team (Jacobs, Dundee-Crown and Hampshire) returns state-qualifier Alex Reinbrecht, who won sectional and conference titles in the 500 and also won the Fox Valley Conference 200 title.
"Alex is our best bet for a finalist in the state meet," said coach Rick Andresen. "His qualifying time last year would have gotten him 12th place at state."
Hampshire sophomore Francis Ogaban is back after being named the newcomer of the meet at the FVC meet where he won the backstroke.
"For a sophomore, Francis is a real nice back-stroker," said Andresen. "He puts in a nice effort all the way around."
Jacobs senior Jordan Anderson swims the 200 and 500, while Jacobs sophomore Cole Guenther does the same two events. Jacobs junior Caleb Knottnerus is strong in the sprints, while Hampshire sophomore Kristian Van Wiel will help in the butterfly and sprints.
"We have a lot of rebuilding to do and we're in the process of that," said Andresen. "We lost a few good swimmers form last year. We're filling in the pieces and getting better every practice. We will train hard and see who progresses and get the ready for conference, sectionals and the state meet."
Huntley update: First-year coach George Keenan has 16 swimmers in the program this season.
Sophomore John Cazel swam a state cut in the breaststroke at last year's Fox Valley Conference meet. He also swims the 100 free. His twin brother Ben Cazel also returns in the backstroke and the 500.
Junior Ryan Czarnecki swims the 200, 500 and the butterfly, while junior Bryan Haage swims the backstroke and the IM.
"We have some good returning swimmers," said Keenan, who also is Huntley's girls' coach. "That group of John, Ben, Ryan and Bryan is strong. John is just getting back into the pool after taking some time off after football. Ryan, Bryan and Ben are looking strong right now. The key for us is finding a supporting cast that can help them."
Bartlett-Streamwood update: Bartlett-Streamwood is coming off a 2012-2013 season where it won its own Sabre-Hawk invitational and the West Chicago Wildcat Winter Splash.
Coach Carl Metzke's team returns Matt Lee, Ethan Schmitz, Hector Orellana and Jacob Pawelkiewicz. Newcomer Tyler Klatt will help the squad as well.
"Our younger swimmers have had a strong showing and have returned ready to hit the ground swimming," said Metzke. "Our veterans are ready to work and teach the younger swimmers the importance of hard work and team building. We have a good, solid group of kids that have been together for awhile and enjoy each others' successes."
Elgin-Larkin update: Elgin-Larkin sophomore Pablo Chavez has gone 23.9 in the 50 freestyle so far. He also swims the backstroke and the butterfly.
Sophomore Chad Billings has clocked 1:19 in the breaststroke. Freshmen Jakob Woerner and Durant Thorne are promising newcomers. Woerner swims freestyle events and the butterfly, while Throne swims freestyle.
The team also returns the likes of Kyle Paquin, Marlo Ong, Jose Olea and Zack Werber.
"We once again are very young and inexperienced," said coach Dave Borg. "We have about 25 swimmers and have a small nucleus of returning swimmers. We are a work in progress."