As much as Bishop Noll has dominated the boys swimming scene in the Greater South Shore Conference the past two seasons, it's difficult to believe the Warriors don't even have their own pool to practice in.
Noll mainly practices around the schedule of conference rival Calumet, fitting training sessions in whenever they can.
For Noll senior captain Brayden Banske, a Calumet City resident, that means waking up even earlier than normal to attend morning practices, and making the 20-minute drive from Noll to Calumet after school ends.
"It gets tough, but the guys on the team all help each other," Banske said.
The Warriors won the Greater South Shore Conference each of the last two seasons and made a little noise with 48 points in the Crown Point Sectional last season, a meet where it is nearly impossible for small schools to make a big splash.
Banske's improvement has no doubt been a big factor in Noll's success. Competing in the 100-yard butterfly this season, Banske has already dropped his time from around 1:04 to 58.11 seconds. He has not lost the event in any meet yet this season.
"It makes me really proud," he said. "I know all my teammates like to watch me race. They're always cheering me on and all the parents are clapping for me whenever I get out of the pool."
Noll coach Pam Armagast has transformed a team that was barely a blip on the radar three years ago to a respectable program able to compete with many teams in the area. It likely wouldn't have happened without swimmers like Banske.
"He's been swimming really well," she said. "He's really light-hearted and laid back, but he just goes in and does his job at practice and he made a big breakthrough because of it. He's a team player and I really can't ask for anything more out of him."
With his eyes set on a third consecutive conference title in Saturday's GSSC meet, Banske's first goal is obviously team-oriented. However, that's not to say he doesn't have any personal goals set.
"My personal goal is to set the conference record (in the fly)," said Banske, who needs to just break one minute to achieve that. "My next goal would be to try to finish as low as possible to get seeded low in sectionals."