It is safe to say that all the early morning practices and intense afternoon workouts for the boys swim team paid off this season, as the team members’ hard work and motivation got them first place in sectionals, which is the first time in history that this has happened. Not only did the team place first, the team sent a swimmer in each event, excluding the 500-yard free and 100-yard fly, with a total of six boys who headed to state.
“Our mentality going into the meet [sectionals] was really good,” Omar Fathallah, sophomore, said. “We went in there trying to get our goal of winning, and we came out on top with the majority of our guys making it to state.”
Fathallah is one of the top swimmers in the program, qualifying for state in all four of his events– the 50-yard free, 200-yard free relay, 100-yard free, and 400-yard free relay. He also qualified in all four of his events freshman year.
At the state meet on Feb. 29, Fatallah made it to finals in both of his individual events, placing 12th in the 50-yard free and 9th in the 100-yard free.
Besides such talent, what made the team succeed was the chemistry.
“One of our team’s strengths is our chemistry and how close we are with each other,” Captain Cale Sethna, junior, said.
He continued on about how going out to breakfast and just hanging out with each other became a normal routine.
“All the captains do a great job of making sure the team is working hard while having fun,” Rahul Sethna, the varsity head coach, said.
One favorite tradition the varsity swim team members have is bleaching their hair after the last invite before championship season.
Because of the boys’ bond, they were able to accomplish their shared goals of getting second in the North Suburban Conference on Feb. 15, winning the majority of their invites and getting first at sectionals– the main goal.
“Winning sectionals was the best feeling in the world,” Cale Sethna said. “Everyone was swimming out of their minds, and it was truly a team effort.”
The meet was off to a great start with the 200-medley relay, consisting of Jack Long, junior captain; Cale Sethna; Michael Romero, sophomore; and Parker Geary, senior captain, qualifying for state and winning the event.
“Right after we won that first event, I was on cloud nine,” Cale Sethna said.
Following the first relay of the day, Aaron Anastos, sophomore, in the 200-yard free, Romero in the 200-yard individual medley and both Fathallah and Geary in the 50-yard free all qualified for state as well as placing in the top six finishes at the meet. The mood throughout the meet just kept getting better as more and more boys qualified for state.
“Throughout the meet, we were getting more and more confident that we could pull the upset off,” Cale Sethna said.
All the confidence and wins were thanks to the result of a hard-working season, members said.
“This season, compared to past seasons, it was obvious that the guys were more committed to the cause, as a whole,” Rahul Sethna said. “I always would tell [the team], ‘We didn’t come this far to come this far.’”
Another quote that he would say was, “Just swim faster.” The boys even made it a point to put those words on the back of their state spirit wear.
“Sethna is a great coach, and he really knows how to get us where we want to be,” Fathallah said. “No matter how hard his practices are or how stern he can be, he always emphasizes having fun more than winning a meet.”