The Archbishop Murphy boys swim team is shaping up nicely in its second year of existence.
The Wildcats field an experienced squad with more than 20 seniors and some individuals who should be heard from at the Class 2A state championships later this year.
Last year only two individuals had any prior competitive swimming experience. This year’s group includes state returner Philip Walczak. The sophomore standout took third in the 500-yard freestyle as a freshman.
“Philip has done good,” said Archbishop Murphy coach Mike McCloskey. “He’s had a great Christmas training. He’s just about on par with last year’s time. He’s getting back into swimming shape.”
Walczak has switched from club swimming to rowing this year.
Another standout is freshman Alec Barnard, who also swims the 500 as well as the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly. He already has a number of state times. Senior R.D. Hunter should be a contender in the 100 backstroke. Senior Nick Pursley is 2/10 of a second off a state cut in the 100 breaststroke and senior Patrick Throckmorton is a strong spring freestyler.
Freshman Alex Walczak, Philip’s younger brother, also is developing into a strong freestyle sprinter.
Archbishop Murphy had some quality practices over the holiday break, which should pay off later in the season.
“Most of the team is looking forward to the end of the season,” McCloskey said.
The seniors bring what McCloskey describes as a football spirit to the squad.
Archbishop Murphy’s depth already has translated into state cuts for the 200 medley and the 400 freestyle relay teams. McCloskey expects the 200 freestyle relay team to qualify for state too. Last year’s 400 freestyle relay team finished eighth overall.
“We can load up three relays at state,” he said. “We have a lot more depth this year.”