Boys Swimming: Year-round work helps Benet’s Cortesio
BY NEIL SHALIN For Sun-Times Media January 12, 2013 3:50PM
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:55AM
At the end of last season, Benet’s Mike Cortesio made the commitment to swim year around, and he’s noticing a big difference in this his sophomore season.
“By swimming at least six times a week in club throughout the year, I find myself more confident and I’m a better swimmer both physically and mentally,” Cortesio said. “I got to work on all my strokes, worked on weights and I just have a better feel for the water.”
One of the things he did in the offseason was work on his two strongest strokes, the backstroke and the butterfly, at college distances, so he was swimming the 200 in both strokes.
“My goal is to qualify for state in the backstroke and maybe even the fly by the time I graduate from Benet,” said Cortesio. “Swimming the longer distances has made me better in the 100 backstroke and butterfly.”
Redwings coach Sarah Maggio noticed the improvement Cortesio has made from last year.
“He’s leading the lane in practice and generally doing things he didn’t do before,” Maggio said. “Last year he got a taste at sectionals of what it’s like to be a serious swimmer. And now he’s really determined and working really hard to be successful.”
Maggio said the Redwings team is at a disadvantage early in the season because they have only a handful of athletes who swim all year around.
“When they make that commitment they’re coming into the high school season in swimming shape,” said Maggio “And we don’t have to spend the first month-and-a half getting them in shape. We can work on more advanced training. If they want to be sectional swimmers, they should be swimming all year around.”
The other Redwings who came to the season in swimming shape were Stephen Spittler, Bram Williams, Colton Paterson and Patrick Lewellyan. Also, Matt Colletti, who swam at the Wheaton Swim Club three days a week, came in in better swimming shape.
“Our entire girls team swims all year around and they’re successful,” said Maggio. “I try to pass this along to the boys. I have no problems with the kids doing other things or playing other sports in the offseason. But you can’t do that and have unreasonable expectations, because swimming takes that commitment.”
“Sometimes when I’m out of the water for a period of time and then get back in I feel very slow,” said Cortesio. “It’s just a good feeling to swim in club because it helps me get ahead of the game.”
Neuqua Valley has a distance freestyle swimmer who may be capable of scoring at state.
Senior Brian Dupuy, who qualified for state in the 500 free last year, but fell short of scoring, is down to a 5:00 in the event and coach Chad Allen believes he has what it takes to be successful at the end of the year.
“Brian has a good chance to score at state,” Allen said. “He’s full of energy in practice and he has a non-stop motor. He kicks through the entire race. His goal is to break 4:40, which would put him near Conner Jager’s record of 4:36.”
At Thursday’s meet at Waubonsie, DuPuy won both the 500 and the 200 freestyle. “Brian and Drew Dvorchak have been our most impressive swimmers this year,” said Allen.
The versatile Bailey York, who has always been a valuable team guy for Waubonsie Valley, is emerging as a true standout.
York, a junior, who was a member of the 200 free relay team that scored at state, is working toward qualifying this year in the 100 backstroke and possibly in a freestyle sprint.
Coach Nick Arens knows he can count on York wherever he’s needed and he expects him to be an integral part of at least two relays for the Warriors.
“He’s a valuable guy for us on relays,” said Arens. “Now he’s shooting for his first individual qualification. He can swim the 50 free, the backstroke or the IM. He’s also working on his endurance because we’re counting on him for the 400 free relay as well. He’s a hard worker and a great team player.”
“This could be a big year for us,” said York. “We’ve pretty much had the same team for the past three years and we’ve been waiting since my freshman year for this moment to come.”