Swimming is a unique sport in that it is both individual and team oriented. The Malvern Prep swim team embodies this, with standout swimmers coming together to form a cohesive unit with plenty of depth.
After a terrific season last year in which the team won the Inter-Ac championship and finished 25th of all high schools public and private across the nation, the team hopes to replicate that success this year.
Jay Schiller is the Head Coach again this year for the Friars, as he has been for many years. Schiller has seen great success and has also sent many swimmers on to the next level, such as Chris Cary ‘14 (Loyola), MP Salinas ‘13 (Navy), CJ Schaffer ‘14 (Penn), and Hadid Thomas ‘14 (Naval Prep School). “CJ and Chris were big losses for us,” said junior William Schaffer, “CJ is certainly a big hole to fill, having roughly half the record board with his name on it”. Sophomore Jack Waite agreed, saying “CJ was easily the most talented swimmer I’ve ever seen, and other seniors last year like Chris Nguyen and Joe Canuso are huge losses because they gave us a lot of depth on our team”.
With such great talent leaving every year, one might wonder how the team will replace the departed seniors. However, the team feels confident in this year’s group.
“Billy Beard is always the focal point of the team, he brings the power and the points”, said Schaffer. The junior class, led by Beard, Harrison Grant, Hunter Peck, Aaron Salinas, and Schaffer, is expected to carry the team in points and finishes, along with sophomores Zach Maher, Yaseen Thomas, and Waite. Captain Brandon Fronczak ‘15 is expected to head them all. Fronczak recently committed to Ohio State University to continue his swimming career.
One major part of the season this year is the team’s training trip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over Christmas break, the team will spend a week together, with a grueling schedule of two practices a day. “We have a 100×100 practice on New Year’s where we swim over 10,000 yards”, said Waite. The trip also includes 2-mile runs, beach dryland workouts, and distance swims in the ocean.
When the team returns to Pennsylvania, it will be business as usual, as they will attempt to win the Inter-Ac for the third year in a row. The most difficult meet for the Friars will be against Haverford. “Haverford came somewhat close to us last year, so we will have to pick up the slack from the graduated seniors. Outside the league, LaSalle College High School is extremely strong and will be tough to beat”, said Schaffer.
The team also hopes to finish in the top three in two post-season competitions; National Catholic Championships and Easterns. National Catholics is a nationwide meet among Catholic high schools, and Easterns is a competition among many different East Coast Teams.
This year, many swimmers will have to step up to fill the void left by last year’s senior class, but with veteran swimmers combined with talented underclassmen, we could see the Malvern Prep Swim Team have a three-peat of Inter-Ac titles.