Prospect's boys swimming and diving team takes its cues, as most team do, from their coach.
So it's a good thing Alfonso Lopez is so skilled at time management.
On Friday night at Wheeling as the Knights were hosting Palatine, a combination of illnesses and excused absences made Lopez the man in charge of the timing system in addition to his duties as Prospect's head coach. For the whole meet he was parked behind a desk near the starting blocks, coordinating with officials and generally making sure the meet was running smoothly.
It was far from ideal, but thanks to the business-like approach from his team and strong support from assistant coach Dan Gentry, all turned out well for Prospect.
The Knights saluted their nine seniors in their final home meet of the year with a 102-84 victory over a terrific team from Palatine. Prospect remains unbeaten in Mid-Suburban League duels this season.
"I'm really proud of the way my guys handled it," Lopez said. "I still was able to give everybody feedback after their races, and after they were done with their swims they knew what I expected of them on deck."
Prospect did a pretty nice job of time management in the pool as well, and many of the key moments came from, naturally, seniors.
Carter Mau and Jake Holycross delivered a 1-2 finish in the 50 free, Michael Morikado won the 100 fly in 55.44 and Nathanael Ginnodo won the 100 breast in 1:03.10. Sam Gabriel won the 100 back (56.67) and led off the winning medley relay, which included Ginnodo, Morikado and Mau.
"We definitely want to give it our best effort every time we have a meet," said Morikado. "But we also knew Palatine would give us a great test. And with it being senior night ... there was plenty of motivation for us."
All of it was necessary to beat a Palatine team improving by leaps and bounds.
Freshman Alex Bartosik won the 200 IM (2:02.53) and placed second in the 100 breast (1:04.26), sophomore Jordan Kalina won the 200 free (1:55.24) and sophomore Marcus Carter-Buckman won the 100 free in a lifetime-best 50.57.
The Pirates also won both freestyle relays. Carter-Buckman, Kalina, Kristiyan Kalev and Jacob Baran combined on the 200 in 1:35.81, and Carter-Buckman, Baran, Kalina and Bartoski won the 400 in 3:26.48.
A 1-3 finish in diving from Prospect's Stephen Schmit and Anthony Liva and a 1-2 finish in the 500 free from the Knights' Alex Morikado and Alex Jarosz were keys to the outcome.
"Those guys really have some depth," said Palatine coach Kyle Sorensen, referring to Prospect. "We knew we'd have some good races, and I thought we had some phenomenal swims."
Including in Palatine's list of standout performances was a season-best of 1:01.53 from senior captain Michael Myszka in the 100 fly.
"Having a swim like that and dropping time in the middle of the season, it just confirms that the work you're doing is paying off," Myszka said. "And team-wise it has an effect because that expectation is raised a little bit for everybone."
It's a quirk of the schedule that had Prospect competing in its last home meet so early in the season. Jamie Moscoso, Thomas Castro, Nick Di Cristofano and Cristian Decorah will join their senior classmates next week as Rolling Meadows hosts the Knights in the first of three consecutive weeks of duels against divisional foes.
"It's odd to have senior night so early -- we've got a lot of season left," said Lopez. "Numbers-wise, the seniors are actually a small part of our team. But they're a special group and they've done a great job of giving the whole group a sense of maturity."
Fremd d. Rolling Meadows: Freshmen Nick Seroni and Joey Carlisle both won a pair of races to help the visiting Vikings prevail 106-77.
Seroni won the 200-yard free (1:51.21) and 100 fly (54.98), and Carlisle was tops in the 500 free (5:06.54) and 100 back (59.68).
Rolling Meadows had the top medley relay with Filip Pancerz, Jake Barson, Tony Sarussi and Kuba Debkowski finishing in 1:45.71.
Carlisle's winning time in the 500 free was just ahead of Pancerz's 5:07.36, which established a Rolling Meadows team record.
Barson won the 100 breast for Meadows in 1:03.12.
Wheeling d. Schaumburg: Jake Noel, Bryce Maczko and Nate Reiff each won a pair of individual races, and all three had legs on two winning relays to help the visiting Wildcats past the Saxons 109.5-74.5.
Noel won the 100-meter fly (1:01.57) and 400 free (4:36.49); Maczko won the 200 free (2:06.04) and 100 free (59.25) and Reiff won the 200 IM (2:28.51) and 100 breast (1:15.48).
Schaumburg got victories from Dan Skiroock in the 50 free (26.77) and from Adrian Maslowski in diving (226.75).
Barrington d. Buffalo Grove: The host Broncos had their depth on display in a 128-58 victory over the visiting Bison, as Barrington won every event but diving.
Colin O'Leary was a double individual winner in the 100-yard fly (53.52) and 100 back (55.39). Other top Broncos finishes came from Patrick Hogan (200 free, 1:55.96), Sebastian Piekarski (100 free, 48.73), Conner Kobida (200 IM, 2:06.62), Jeremy Kleinjan (5:04.18), Will Hobbs (50 free, 23.33) and Sam Miseyka (100 breast, 1:03.64).
BG's Josh Opperman won diving with 186.95.