Five questions with Wharton senior Jordan Rees, who finished fourth in the 50 free at last year's 3A state meet and eighth in the 100. This past spring, he placed fourth at junior nationals in 50 free (20.6).
How did you get involved in swimming?
I swam competitively for four months in North Carolina. … I stopped for about three years. I was so uncoordinated as a kid because I was so freakin' tall (6 feet at age 12). So I couldn't do any sports besides swimming, so I got back into it. I was God-awful, couldn't do flip turns, 8- and 9-year-olds would be lapping me.
How did that all change?
I got a hang of it after about a year, and every meet after that in the 50 and 100 free I would drop a second. Dropping a second every month, that's like unheard of, no matter how good or bad you are. I really only have two years of real training under my belt.
How much of a difference will the FHSAA's move to ban tech suits have?
It's going to make the playing field a lot more even. I want to say it makes a huge difference but then it makes very little difference. It makes a big difference for the little things. You didn't have to worry about it. Now with the suits being banned, you have to focus more on the little things. Whether we want to admit it or not, it's going to make a difference.
What is swimming the 50 like?
You just concentrate on all the little things throughout the season and then when you go out there you just move. You breathe twice and you pray to God you touch the wall first. It's always anyone's game because everyone's so close. The 100 is more tiring on your legs, the 50 is more tiring on your mind.
Any hobbies outside of the pool?
I'm actually in the culinary academy at my school. It's not like Home Ec, where you learn how to bake muffins. We wear chef jackets, we have a full restaurant in the school. We do weddings, catering, tons of stuff. We really base it on French cuisine.
Five boys to watch
• Dylan Attal, Sr., Jesuit: Class A state qualifier in the 100 fly (19th, 54.68).
• Jacob Bukaweski, Sr., Newsome: One of the county's top distance swimmers, he placed 17th in the 500 free (4:51.25) at states.
• Chris Swanson, So., Jesuit: State qualifier in the 100 breast (23rd, 1:05.10) and 50 free (21st, 22.85).
• Cody Wei, Jr., King: Finished 11th in the state in the 200 IM (1:58.94) in 3A meet.
• Nick Wing-Holt, Sr., Bloomingdale: Area's top returning diver placed eighth in 3A state meet (418.55).
Five teams to watch
Berkeley Prep: State finalist diver Sam Bobo as well as Andreas Hatoum (100 breast), Will Miller (100 free) lead another strong Bucs squad.
Jesuit: Attal, Swanson and John Simon anchor a young group of talented swimmers that should be poised for another state run. They are making the move to 2A after finishing 10th in A last year.
Newsome: 500 free record holder Jason Taylor is off to UF, but the Wolves still return a talented group. Finished 11th in state 2A meet last year.
Sickles: A team that placed fifth in states loses swimmer of the year Conor Swanson and star sprinter Gregg Cooke, but returns junior Andrew Howard and senior Trey Went.
Wharton: Wildcats have the best sprinter in Rees, also Patrick Gilbreath and Chad Ankers and a goal of improving on last year's performance.