Boys Swimming: Andrew’s Fitzgerald highly motivated
The fact it has been a while since Andrew won a conference championship in swimming — 1995 to be exact — doesn’t sit well with senior Kyle Fitzgerald.
“It’s in the gym at school. I look at it every day,’’ Fitzgerald said. “It bugs me. I want to get it this year.’’
If Andrew becomes the SouthWest Suburban Red champion this season, Fitzgerald likely will play a major role. No one knows that better than Andrew coach Frank Muchna, who’s been guiding Fitzgerald through all the ups and downs for 13 years, dating back to the GILLS (Great Illinois Swimmers).
“He’s just a great kid, great leader,’’ Muchna said.
Fitzgerald was Lincoln-Way North Sectional champion last season in the 100-yard freestyle (47.45), runner-up in the 200 free and swam on the champion 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
His efforts have been a large part of the growing swimming success at Andrew.
“Since I’ve been here, we pretty much remodeled our school record board,’’ Fitzgerald said. “I think there’s only one or two records that haven’t been taken down since I’ve been here.
“It just goes to show how motivated we’ve been in the past couple years, and Frank’s been pushing us even farther.’’
Fitzgerald said he expects to make the state finals — top 12 for All-State status — in both his freestyle races.
“He’s a hard-working kid,’’ Muchna said. “He spent a lot of time in the offseason in the weight room. He knew what he had to do to get to where he wants to be.’’
“Me and Frank are pretty close,’’ Fitzgerald said. “His optimism and his ability to work with me, work with my head, work with my emotions. If I’m upset after a swim, he knows how to calm me down. He knows how to push me hard to reach my goals.’’
Fitzgerald said his times are faster than they were at this point last season.
“I’m making sure that I’m going to be better,’’ he said. “I know there’s other people looking to take me down. It’s a sense of motivation, knowing that I want the feeling I felt last year.’’
The sectional ended with Andrew winning the 400 relay and having a feeling of great promise for the 2014 season.
Zach Rentner swam on both winning relays and is back this year. Michael Tamulonis returns from the 400 relay, and Dan Cavato is back from the 200 relay.
They’re part of the group Muchna calls a “solid core of seniors.’’ The foursome of Fitzgerald, Tamulonis, Cavato and Rentner won the 400 relay Friday at the Lincoln-Way North Invitational.
“I’m expecting a lot out of these guys this year,’’ Muchna said. “I think they expect it out of themselves.’’
The conference meet is Feb. 8 at Lincoln-Way North, followed two weeks later by the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional.
“I think the potential is already showing,’’ Fitzgerald said. “Everyone on the team knows how good we can be.’’