EVANSTON — The Evanston High School boys’ swimming team is young coming into the 2017-18 season.
But the Red Devils believe they can still make some noise in the pool this year.
“I think we definitely have the potential to do some good,” Evanston senior Dylan Phillips said. “With how many freshmen and newcomers we have, I think the program has a great future ahead.”
Phillips is a two-time state qualifier. Last year he made the cut in the 100-yard backstroke, along with the 500- and 200-yard freestyle. He was also part of Evanston’s 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
Phillips hopes to qualify for state in more events this season. He also has his eyes set on the school record for the 500-yard freestyle. Currently, Phillips is 10 seconds away from setting a new mark.
“I think it’s going to be fun to see what happens at the end at conference and state,” Phillips said. “The improvement will definitely be shown.”
Phillips and fellow senior Caleb Richins believe that will be true across the board.
“We don’t have a lot of returners, but we have a lot of freshmen and they have a lot of potential,” Richins said. “I feel like we have a lot of potential to drop time. I see a lot of hard work going on.”
Last season, the Red Devils finished 10th at state after tallying 60.5 points. Evanston’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Isayah Saavedra, Richins, Phillips and Brandon Sitz led the way for the Red Devils at state last season after finishing fourth with a time of 3:42.14.
Phillips and Richins are looking to guide the Red Devils, who had more than 10 freshmen come out for the team this year.
“I feel like I need to be one of the leaders and show them how do things properly,” Richins said. “That way they can get the best out of each day and become the best swimmer they can.”
Jim Levine is also optimistic as he enters his fourth season at the helm of the Evanston boys’ team.
“Even the rookie guys that can’t swim very well and can’t swim very far are improving daily,” said Levine, who has been coaching swimming in the area for more than 40 years. “They’re coming along.
“They’re in better shape coming in than they were last year. We’re already doing practices that we did during the second week of the year last year.”
Evanston opens the season on Friday with a dual meet in Rawlins. The Red Devils will also be in Rawlins on Saturday for a pentathlon.
“Most of our guys will get times on everything — all events,” Levine said. “It’s a good way to start.”