The La Salle-Peru/Ottawa boys swimming team is limited on experience and lower on numbers entering the 2022-23 season.
The Cavaliers have 10 swimmers on the roster with two seniors, one junior and the rest freshmen and sophomores.
Only two L-P/Ottawa swimmers are experienced in senior Owen Phillips and junior Chris Lowery.
“Owen Phillips is probably our strongest and fastest swimming on the team this year,” L-P/O coach Rob McNally said. “Chris Lowery is also doing a pretty good job already this year.”
McNally said Phillips is a strong freestyle swimmer but is capable of swimming all four strokes.
“He has his eye on a few team records, one in particular is the 200-meter individual medley,” McNally said. “We’re not yet thinking about what events we want him to attempt to get a state time, but he’s really capable in just about any event he wants to swim.”
McNally said Lowery along with his sophomore brother, Brian, are strong swimmers in the breaststroke and butterfly.
The only other upperclassman on the roster is senior Phillip Guglielmetti, a first-year swimmer.
The Cavs also have a “pretty good freshman class” in Jonathon Neu, Griffin Sharp and Bo Weitl, who have all shown good potential, McNally said.
“They’re all working hard in practice,” McNally said.
McNally said the Cavs have the potential to put together solid freestyle relays.
“I think we probably stand the best chance in one of the freestyle relays, but the unfortunate thing about freestyle relays in high school swimming is the state is full of really fast freestylers, so you can put your best team out there, but I’m sure we’re going to be up against some pretty stiff competition,” McNally said.
McNally will use the early part of the season to move swimmers around to different events to find what lineup will work best.
“We have a bunch of versatile swimmers who can swim just about anything,” McNally said. “That allows me to put them in different events to judge where I see them and also where they fit in best for the team as far as making the team as good as it can be.”
Sophomores Tucker Ditchfield, Andrew Gritt and Danny Marini round out the roster.
The Cavs typically compete in the Rock Island or United Township sectional, but during the girls season La Salle-Peru/Ottawa was sent to the Normal Sectional.
Wherever the Cavs end up, McNally hopes to see better times than the team had in the season opener.
“I want to see them improve their times from the beginning of the season to the end of the season,” McNally said. “With such a young team, it’s hard to judge where we’re going to be.”