L-P co-op boys swimming team expects to be competitive despite low numbers

The La Salle-Peru co-op boys swimming team, which has swimmers from L-P, Ottawa and Streator, may be low on numbers this season with only seven members, but they’re veteran swimmers.

“It’s a pretty small team with seven total, but they all have swimming experience,” L-P coach Rob McNally said. “We’ll have to fight to win meets, but I think we’ll be competitive despite the fact that we’ve got low numbers this year.”

L-P’s Chris Lowery will lead the Cavs this winter as the team’s lone senior.

“He’s a good breaststroker, but I can pretty much put Chris anywhere and he’ll excel,” McNally said. “He’s been swimming since he was 8 or 9 years old, so he’s well versed in all of the events, which makes it a luxury for me because I can put him where I feel he’s needed most on any given day, and that’ll help us be competitive against other teams.”

Tyler Ditchfield, a junior from Ottawa, will compete in the 500-yard freestyle. Junior Brian Lowery will swim in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, Ottawa sophomore Jonathan Neu will race freestyle and butterfly, and L-P sophomore Bo Weitl will swim the backstroke.

Freshmen Caleb Strand, of L-P, and Vince Wargo, of Streator, also will contribute.

“They’re untested as far as high school swimming goes,” McNally said. “I know they’ve swum all the events, but it’ll take a few meets of evaluation until I pigeonhole them into what they’re going to do.”

With only seven swimmers, McNally said the Cavs are likely unable to field three relays. Last season, Chris and Brian Lowery along with Neu swam on L-P’s 200 freestyle relay that placed fourth at the United Township Sectional.

“We’ll have a couple competitive relays,” McNally said. “They haven’t done the sectional assignments yet, so I don’t know who our competition is going to be, so I really can’t evaluate against everybody else, but I think we’ll do well against the competition that we have.”

McNally said his swimmers will have to cut time in order to compete for a state meet berth.

“Chris probably has the best shot at state,” McNally said. “His brother, Brian, does pretty well. But they’re still a ways off the state cuts, so they’re going to really have to put in the work over the course of the season to have a shot at it. It’s a 15-week season, and you’re going to get out of it exactly what you put into it. Hopefully, we’ll get some kids working hard and we’ll get a state qualifier if not by hitting the time standard then by winning the event at sectional.”