Head coach Andrew Porth will be one of the few rookies for the Morris co-op boys swimming and diving team when it opens its season next week.
"I don't know that we've had this many veteran swimmers in a long time," Porth said. "They have meet experience. The way they're great learners and are already familiar with the process makes my job easier. They know what we do. All they need is to get in the pool and get some meters under their belt."
Porth says he has "a lot of options" as he finalizes a lineup for Tuesday's opener from a 36-member preliminary roster. One mainstay who figures to be in multiple events is Morris senior Anthony Ascolani, whose specialty is the 100-meter butterfly. Ascolani also expects to compete in the 200-meter freestyle.
"You have to learn how to pace yourself," Ascolani said of preparing for the 200 free. "I'll do whatever I need to do to help the team. We want to do well in conference. If we have a strong meet, I feel like we can medal."
Minooka junior Jacob Beaudin will concentrate mostly on the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events, along with, he says, "a few other races."
"We were fifth at conference last year, and we would like to do even better at conference this season," Beaudin said of the independent conference meet scheduled for Feb. 2 at DeKalb. "What would make this a successful season would be to see improvement in the team and for us to do better as a team at conference."
While the rest of the lineup is "up in the air," with the Redskins determining some of it Thursday when they host a mock meet, Porth says he does expect Minooka junior Jimmy Meredith to swim the breaststroke and Coal City sophomore Jacob MacLean to be a distance specialist.
"One of our big goals is to do well in all of our tournaments," Porth said. "With the depth we have, we're hopeful we can place in the Riverside (-Brookfield) Invitational. We want to establish some good relays by the Wildcat Relays. We're going to Kankakee for an invitational this year and we would like to do well there."
Tuesday's opener is the first of six events with which the Redskins are scheduled to begin their season in a 15-day span.
"Our schedule is intense. We have six meets before our Christmas break," Porth said. "Then, after we come back, we have almost a month before we hit conference and sectionals. It's like having two seasons in one."