The Moorestown Friends Swim team has experienced a renaissance this season, as the team qualified for the Eastern Championships at Germantown Academy—a particularly impressive feat for a school without its own pool facilities.
For the first time in seven years, the Foxes represented MFS at Easterns, a prestigious event where some of the best high school swimmers in the area look to qualify for the Olympics. While the MFS team came home without any prizes, they swam their best in a competition few expected the squad to qualify for. WordsWorth sat down with Rookie Coach William Burris just before the Eastern Championships to get his perspective on the season as a whole.
Burris said of the team, “It’s time to take this program to the next level and to show our kids that they belong swimming with the best in the region and Easterns is the best place to do so.”
The Foxes had a much larger team this year than in years past, with thirty-six swimmers signed up for the squad. While the large team showed great interest for the program, and yielded many talented lower and upperclassmen swimmers, Burris admits the struggle of having a big team. “It’s no question that we’d prefer more lanes or increased pool availability. We did the best we could with what we had.” He also implores the dramatic improvement by a large majority of the team.
The Foxes’ underclassmen were quite impressive. The particular production from freshmen Maddie Minnino and Evan Fenska was very impactful to the Foxes’s success this season. “Maddie Mininno and Evan Fenska have been true sparks for this team. Based on what I have seen this year from all the swimmers that will be back, I’m excited about the future of this team and this program.
When asked about his most valuable swimmer going into Eastern’s, Coach Burris did not hesitate. “Marirose has been this teams hardest worker since day one and really, it’s not even close. I expect her to have a breakout swim or two this weekend.”
Burris continues, “I am confident that we have the ability to swim with anyone. Whether we do so is a completely different issue… I want for this team to understand that they are as talented as anyone out there and simply need to stop making excuses and come to practice ready to work. This idea that MFS is inferior to other programs in any way is insane. The fact of the matter is, teams that we’ve seen have wanted it more than we have. That’s on me.”
The Foxes had a strong team this year with a bright future, and are clearly headed in the right direction. A long season’s worth of practice has clearly been worth it, as the MFS squad has proved themselves to be anything but inferior.