EVANSTON – It was a season of breaking records for the Riverside Brookfield boys swimming team, and Quinn Risley was a big reason why.
The junior advanced to an event final for the first time in his career and helped the Bulldogs qualify a relay to Saturday’s state finals for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Risley was fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and, along with sophomore Christian Hernandez, junior Anthony Colon and senior Tim Somers, was a part of the 200-yard freestyle relay that placed 11th at state. In total, RB sent a record seven swimmers to the state meet.
“It’s great to be here with the guys,” Risley said. “I think we’ve got a really energetic team and it’s always just fun to compete with the best.”
Last year Risley qualified in two individual events and with the same relay, but none of the Bulldog entries advanced to Saturday. This year, Risley made it in the 50-yard freestyle and was joined by the relay.
“I was really hoping I’d have some company coming back,” Risley said. “I love these guys so to have them compete is just great.”
It capped off a season where the Bulldogs broke six school records, set new pool records at RB and Fenwick, and won the program’s first sectional title. The future is bright as there was just one senior, Somers, among the seven that swam at state for RB.
Individually, Risley was hoping for a bit more out of his state performance.
He had the third-fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle in Friday’s preliminaries, but finished fifth in the finals. He also entered state seeded fifth in the 100-yard freestyle and was just 18th in the prelims.
“I was hoping for more,” he said. “I kind of had a rough couple days. I didn’t really swim as well as I did at my sectional, but I was happy with just getting top six in the 50.”
The atmosphere on Saturday is what Risley said stood out to him on the day.
“You’re just competing with the best of the best,” Risley said. “Everybody you see is top 12 so the energy is insane.”
Risley has high expectations for his final year of high school swimming.
“Never lose again,” he said. “I’m going to come back strong, put in a strong year of training, and be the best.”
RB swimmers at state
• Quinn Risley: 5th in 50-yard freestyle; 18th in 100-yard freestyle
• 200-yard freestyle relay: 11th
• 400-yard freestyle relay: 22nd
• Tim Somers: 29th in 50-yard freestyle
• 200-yard medley relay: 30th
• Kevin Garza: 41st in 100-yard backstroke
• Dominic Rosa: 43rd in 100-yard breaststroke