Fox Valley Conference
(with Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge)
Coach: Scott Lattyak (seventh season)
Last season: First at FVC Invite
Top returners: Drew Watson (CLS), jr.; Dexter Zielinski (CLC), sr.; Kasparas Venslauskas (CLC), so.; Noah Brereton (CLS), so.; Danial Sanahurskyj (CLS), sr.; Connor Chan (CLC), jr.; Victor Praczkowski (CLS), so.; Brendan Baser (PR), jr.
Key newcomers: Mason Gaylord (PR), fr.; Oliver Rupniewski (CG), fr.; Charles Edwards (CLS), fr.
Worth noting: The Trojans won the FVC Invite title for the 14th time in 15 seasons, defeating Huntley by 143 points. … C-G co-op graduated its top swimmer, Ben Castro, the 2022 Northwest Herald Boys Swimmer of the Year. Castro earned a fifth-place state medal in the 100-yard butterfly and was part of the Trojans’ first two relays to place at state. … Watson qualified for state in four events: the 200 IM, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Watson, along with Venslauskas, were on the 200 medley relay team that took seventh at state. Watson, along with Zielinski, was on the 400 free relay that was 10th. They were the first two Trojans’ relays to medal. … At the FVC Invite, Watson was first in the 100 backstroke and second in the 200 IM; Venslauskas was first in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 IM; Brereton was first in the 500 free; Zielinski was second in the 100 free; Chan was third in the 100 breaststroke; and Braser was third in the 500 free. … “This group has the potential to be the best team in the history of our program,” Lattyak said. “Looking at our team records, it’s possible for them to break every single team record this year or to match them. It’s an exciting position to be in.”
Coach: Jenna Gaudio (fifth season)
Last season: Second at FVC Invite
Top returners: Ben Rocks, sr.; Michael Boelens, sr.; Yehan Subasinghe, sr.; Dominic Siwiec, sr.
Key newcomers: Carter Yonamine, jr.; Owen Dassie, so.; Szymon Osadnik, so.
Worth noting: The Red Raiders were runner-up at the FVC Invite for the third year in a row. Huntley started its season Saturday by winning the Harlem Invite. … Rocks was named co-Most Valuable Swimmer at the FVC Invite and qualified for state in the 100 free and 200 free, also winning those events at conference. Rocks also has his sights set on qualifying in the 50 free. He is committed to NCAA Division I Indiana University-Purdue University. … Boelens didn’t swim on the team last year but has times that should put him in contention for FVC and postseason medals, Gaudio said. … The Raiders are hoping to get a relay to state, led by their four seniors: Rocks, Boelens, Subasinghe and Siwiec. … Subasinghe finished third in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 breaststroke at last year’s FVC Invite; Siwiec was third in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. … “The varsity team is looking strong and is excited,” Gaudio said. “We’ve only been practicing for a week and a half and I already see the boys bonding. The returning swimmers are helping the younger guys and creating strong team bonds.”
(with Dundee Crown and Hampshire)
Coach: Molly Gomberg (fifth season)
Last season: Third at FVC Invite
Top returners: Luke Johnson (Jac), so.; Gabe Niemi (Jac), so.; Pavlo Komarov (Jac), jr.; Charlie Mason (Jac), jr.; Evan Phan (Jac), sr.; Colin Phan (Jac), so.
Key newcomers: Max Chiappetta (Jac), fr.; Diego Velasco (Jac), fr.; Justin Bernstein (D-C), fr.
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles graduated nine seniors, giving them a pretty young team. Gomberg, however, still is confident that her team will perform very well at bigger meets. Komarov took runner-up in the 100 butterfly at last year’s FVC Invite; Niemi was fourth in the 200 IM; Johnson was fourth in the 100 backstroke; and Colin Phan was fifth in the 100 breaststroke. The 200 free relay, which included Komarov, Johnson and Mason, placed second. … “I am most excited about the positivity that each of our swimmers bring to practice every day,” Gomberg said. “We’ve only had a handful of practices so far, but you can already tell they enjoy swimming and spending time with each other. That is definitely going to be a factor in how we perform later on in the season.”
Coach: Sharon Lesniak (sixth season)
Last season: Fourth at FVC Invite
Top returners: Alex Sadowski, so.; Jakob Axelson, so.
Key newcomers: Caz Henley, fr.; Blake DeNovo, fr.
Worth noting: The Warriors were fourth at the FVC Invite after taking fifth in each of the previous three seasons. … Lesniak said Sadowski and Axelson are both “very well-rounded swimmers” and should be competitive at both the conference and sectional meets. Axelson took fifth in the 200 IM and 500 free at the FVC Invite as a freshman. … The Warriors are focused on achieving as many personal-best times as possible as they get closer to the postseason. ... McHenry opens its FVC schedule Thursday against Huntley. … “I’m just hoping to achieve personal best times,” said Lesniak, “and to really come together as a team. I have swimmers that work very hard. If they continue to work, they should do well.”
Woodstock North co-op
Coach: Maggie Gomberg (second season)
Last season: Fifth at FVC Invite
Top returners: Danny Ortiz (Wdk), sr.; Kevin Riley (Wdk), sr.
Key newcomers: Isaac Morse (WN), fr.
Worth noting: The Thunder doubled their roster size from last year, which has brought “a refreshing energy to the pool,” Gomberg said. She said a big goal this season is to build team depth in multiple events. … Morse is someone to look out for as a freshman. He will try to contend for an FVC medal right away in the 100 breaststroke. “He worked very hard during club season and came into high school season ready to go,” Gomberg said. ... “This is shaping up to be a great season for our team,” Gomberg said. “We have a good mixture of new and returning swimmers. The returning swimmers are ready to build on what they accomplished. They’re leading by example. The new swimmers have already shown great commitment to the team.”