Boys swim team trains seniors for final season, reflects on past years

Leaders hope to make State run with multiple qualifiers, form connections


Quinn Collins ’23 and Garrett Walls ’23 dive off platform for 200 IM at intersquad meet on Nov. 28 at SC pool (Wolf/LION)

Sydney Wolf, Sports Editor

After finishing third in State last year, the boys swim team is returning this season in hopes to replicate that performance, according to one of the four team captains, Quinn Collins ‘23. Being the only remaining member of last year’s state team does not worry him, as he feels this year’s team has a lot of hidden talent that will be shown through their hard work and team bonding. 

“This year, with what we’ve got, I think qualifying for State in the relays is a solid goal to look towards, as our team is on the rebound,” Collins said. “Hopefully our underclassman can build off that in the future to the point of state title contention.” 

Collins has been in the sport since the age of 4 and has spent almost everyday since training and improving to get to the skill level he is at now. He will continue his career next year at the University of Denver because of the environment that provides opportunities for Collins to improve not only as a student athlete, but a person overall, he said. 

“I’m really gonna miss the meet atmosphere most from high school swimming,” he said. “It’s incredible to get up on the blocks and have 70 of your teammates shouting your name, and the pre-game speeches are unreal, and can’t be replicated in club or college swimming.”

Varsity head coach Erin Rodriguez was just excited to get the season started, she said. She loves to watch the team get stronger and more unified throughout the year and watch them race and compete in general.

“They become a brotherhood throughout the season,” Rodriguez said. “They spend so much time together that it’s hard not to build camaraderie amongst themselves. They’re each other’s biggest supporters and push each other through meets and tough workouts. They all have each other’s backs and you can see that when they compete.”

Along with Collins, Garrett Walls ‘23 and Sean Gripp ‘23 are team captains that have been swimming since the ages four and six. The fourth captain, Will DiSessa ‘23 is the only captain that dives and has been swimming and diving since he was 8. Being leaders means a lot to the boys and especially when it comes to setting goals for the team and themselves, according to Gripp.

“I really think it’s going to be about consistency this year,” Walls said. “If we can always rely on our teammates to step up when the opportunity presents itself, we shouldn’t have much of an issue being competitive. Personally, I’m most excited to see who fills in for [the] seniors who left, who is going to put in the work to make us better.”

The boys are looking to make yet another go at State, but according to Rodriguez, the main goal she looks towards is simply the growth of the athletes as individuals. As long as the swimmers end the year faster than they started, and the divers end with new, stronger dives, it will be a successful season, she said.

“I’m excited to see the seniors decide how they want to leave their mark on the program,” Rodriguez said. “This is their last year to determine the legacy of the Class of 2023 and how they get remembered, so I look forward to seeing what they choose to do with it.”

The boys swim at their next meet on Dec. 16 at Oak Park River Forest High School at 5 p.m.