High school swimming can be some what predictable from year to year since we know who is returning, we know their times, it would seem that we could basically write this up on paper and get the result. But wait! The X factor! The Wild Cards! The freshmen! We say goodbye to the talented seniors and hello to the unknown, The Freshmen swimmers.
Why are these folks X factors? Swimming is a small community we should see these guys coming right? Well not always, during the time between eighth grade and ninth grade kids develop; they become more mature - stronger!
Often, those who we think are going to be the X factors may be overshadowed by these “new kids on the block” the swimmers that grew up physically but lack in confidence.
The first day of practice, butterflies in the stomach!
In awe of the upper classmen, the X factor moves ahead steadily working hard during practice but keeping their place.
Its not until the first meet, everything changes for these guys - instead of lane 3 or 4 they get 2 or 5 – they stand behind the blocks without expectations and for the first time have very little pressure.
BEEP…. All the nervous energy goes away the swimmer hits the water and when finished their time is at the top of the board, a stud is born.
Don’t get me wrong the talent has always been there but now with confidence, maturity and poise they become the future, until the X factor arrives.
This year is like any other; we see the X factors starting to forge an impact on their team, conference and eventually the state. Already we had freshmen post top ten times in the state, Richard Nolan of Prep has cruised a 1:51 in the 200 free and 2:03.77 in the 200 IM (converted meters to yards) as well as some strong swims in the 500.. While down in Greenwich Andres Ruh has been making his point by motoring to a 1:50 in the 200 free, a 51.7.in the100 free and a 56.4 in the 100 fly. Masuk has a diamond in the rough, William Briand who has posted 52 in the 100 free while Seymour has Jack Croocamo making waves in the NVL. The mentioned are just a few; there are many freshmen throughout the state contributing to their programs. There are others that may not be top ten like Brookfield’s Thomas Foster who has banked a 57.6 in the 100 fly or Amity’s Tyler Roy who posted a very respectable 24.38 50 free with others improving each day. This new talent will fill the number one spots as well as play the vital two and three swimmer roles but more importantly they are the future.
As this new crop, the X factors, mixes with the likes of Smith, Gambardella, May, Rus, Macnamara and Lewis we should anticipate an exciting March.