Last season, Brother Rice swimmers Mitch Strahlman and James Ryan were tucked away in a corner in the competitors seating area at the state meet.
The Crusaders will need a much bigger seating area this year with several swimmers joining the duo this year at the state meet.
Brother Rice enjoyed one of its best days in the pool in recent memory, qualifying individuals in four events and a relay, in a second-place effort in the competitive Sandburg High School swimming and diving sectional on Feb. 22.
“The kids have been working really hard and swam well today,” said Br. Rice Coach Tony Cichowicz. “All the kids stepped up. We’ve been focused on that medley relay going downstate all season, so that was huge. I think that set the tone for the day. All those kids wanted to make it to state.”
The Crusaders’ 200-yard medley relay squad was seeded second with a time of 1:40.37, about two seconds off Stagg’s seed time and also the state-qualifying standard.
Brother Rice shattered both.
Sophomores Solomon Gienosky and James Ryan, senior Mitch Strahlman and freshman Aaron Payne hit the wall in 1:36.11, nearly a second better than the Chargers, who finished second.
Strahlman couldn’t hide his excitement.
“I’m kind of a quiet kid, but when we won that, I was so thrilled and was going crazy,” said Strahlman. “This week for me was all about the two relays I was in. Going to state in a relay is so much better than qualifying as an individual. I’m so proud of the other three guys who were in it. Br. Rice swimming usually gets looked over, so that was our motivation. The taper was all the coaches. They knew what to do, and the reason we dropped so much time was because of them.”