Filipovic looking to lead younger St. Charles North swim team
Like the rest of the swimmers, St. Charles North junior Alec Filipovic has been sidelined from high school swimming since winter sports were paused in November.
Unlike most of the swimmers, Filipovic offset the disappointment with perhaps the biggest decision of his life, announcing he would swim at the University of Texas.
Filipovic, who helped the North Stars win the last two state championships, chose Texas over North Carolina State, Virginia, Indiana, Cal-Berkeley and Stanford.
"It was a lot to handle six colleges calling every week and texting," Filipovic said. "Once I visited Texas it was over. It was Texas."
Filipovic will return to the St. Charles North pool soon with the Illinois High School Association announcing this week low-risk winter sports can resume their seasons.
"I'm really happy about that," Filipovic said. "Two months is a big chunk of the season. High school swimming is a lot of fun, so not being able to have such fun guys to be around is disheartening."
Filipovic said he lifted every day during the break and swam with his club team, the St. Charles swim team.
"It's sufficient I'd say the last two months but I'd really like to start picking it up again," Filipovic said of getting in prime swimming shape.
Filipovic played a key role on both the 2019 and 2020 state title teams.
As a freshman he finished fifth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 free at state. Last year Filipovic won the 100 butterfly state title and took second in the 50 free.
St. Charles North won't get a chance to win a third straight state championship this year. That's OK, said Filipovic, who knows the team graduated a number of key swimmers from those teams, including his brother, Siba, who is playing water polo at Air Force.
"We did lose a lot of guys," he said. "We have some guys who really need to develop. Some need to get in the mode of swimming because they haven't swam for so long. I don't think defending a state title really matters right now. We have to get guys in the mode of swimming and competing in practice."
Coach Rob Rooney wants his experienced swimmers helping the younger ones develop, knowing it's important for the program's future.
"Our seniors have had a chance to be part of the culture for three years," Rooney said. "I have to look at my freshmen and sophomores and invest a lot of time where they are at because they are the future. They haven't seen the things the juniors and seniors have."
Filipovic said he's ready to help the newcomers, and would like for no more disruptions to the season.
"It's great sports are getting back in the swing of things," Filipovic said. "I hope it can stay like that and not go back into a wishy-washy sort of state. I do not want to leave high school swimming again."