- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - The family atmosphere is stronger than ever this season for the Richwoods boys swimming and diving team.

And at the core of the team chemistry are four sets of brothers swimming for the Knights, giving the team a strong pool of talent and togetherness.

The brothers on the team are Ben and Daniel Matlock, Rowan and Emmett Hanold, Sam and Will Swain, and Rob and Ted Lewis.

“What are the odds that you’d have four sets of brothers on a team?” Richwoods coach Lynn Thompson said. “And they are all such utter different personalities.

“It’s unbelievable, and they don’t really look alike - like brothers. They don’t fight or anything like that. They rib each other, but not in a vicious way. I can honestly say I rarely have had any issues with them.”

The most accomplished of the brothers are the Matlocks, which is to be expected.

“We have been year-round swimmers for about the last seven years,” Ben Matlock, a junior said. “But we swim very different events, so there is not much of a competition between us.”

The 17-year-old is on the Journal Star honor roll in three freestyle events and on three honor roll relay teams.

“I swim the breaststroke and IM (individual medley), mostly,” Daniel said.

The freshman is ranked third in the area in both the 200 IM and in the 100 breast, and he swims on the area-ranked 200 medley relay and on the 400 free relay.

They both are on the Dunlap Dolphins swim team, so swimming together in high school was not unexpected.

“We really didn’t think about swimming together, it was just going to happen,” Ben said. “We’ve also been trying to get kids on the team to swim year-round with us.

“Almost the entire team swims only during high school season.”

The Hanolds also come from a swimming background, following their older brother, Noah, on the Richwoods roster.

Two years ago, all three Hanold brothers swam for the Knights, before Noah graduated to swim for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Rowan and Emmett Hanold have been on the Richwoods swim team throughout high school, although they have tried other sports.

Emmett, a junior, has played football, and both brothers play lacrosse.

In the pool, however, there is not much competition between them.

“We actually swim relatively the same events - the 200 and the 500,” Rowan, a senior, said. “And we’re usually in both relays, the 200 free and 400 free.

“It could be considered a rivalry, but usually (Emmett) beats me. He’s always been faster than me, and I’ve never been the strongest swimmer.

“I’m more on the team for the experience with the guys, because the team’s really close. We’re always together, and everyone’s communicating with each other and making jokes.”

Added Emmett: “I’m competitive when it comes down to it, but I’m really just trying to contribute as much as I can to the team.

“I think it’s a cool experience that we can swim together. We get along well, but I can’t say that for all the brothers.”

Will Swain, a sophomore, was on the Richwoods team last season, but Sam Swain, a junior, joined for the first time this year.

“I was never a football guy, and started swimming back up in high school,” Will, 15, said. “It’s fun having (Sam) on the team this year, especially since he can give me rides to practice.”

Sam played football, but was talked into trying out for the swim team this year.

“I didn’t really want to, but I didn’t know it was going to be fun,” he said. “It turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be.

“I swam as a kid, but didn’t really like it. So I gave it a second chance, and now I like it more.”

They swim different events, but there is still some brotherly competition between the Swains.

“(Will) is more of an odd stroker, and I’m more of a free stylist,” Sam said. “I thought I would be pretty bad, but it turned out to be OK. I’m decent.”

Sam is on the foursome that is ranked fifth in the area in the 200 free relay.

“You’re still pretty bad,” Will said.

But Sam has had his moments against his brother.

“My third time in a race, I ended up beating him in the 50 free,” he said. “Competing against each other, I think it helps both of our times decrease.”

Ted Lewis, a junior, is in his second year with the Knights, but his older brother, Rob, a senior, had to be talked into joining for the first time this season.

“A lot of my friends on the team that I know or have classes with talked me into joining this year,” Rob said. “I’m having a good time, and it’s really good for me, too.

Rob ran cross country last year, and Ted played soccer his freshman year before converting to the pool.

“I kind of dropped soccer because swimming’s an easier sport to practice for,” Ted said. “I’m not saying the practices are easier, but I just like swimming more than soccer.”

Ted swims the 200 IM, the 100 back and the freestyle relays.

“I swim whatever the coach puts me in,” Rob said. “I prefer the 100 breaststroke and most of the freestyles.”

As for the brotherly competition, it’s not even close.

“He’s way faster than I am - no contest,” Rob said. “You can’t build up swimming speed that fast.”

Joining the swim team has also resulted in some negatives for the Lewis brothers.

“Out of all the brothers, we probably have the worst hair, because of the chlorine,” Rob said. “We swam twice a day, every day for the most part, during the winter break.

“And the chlorine in the pool seeps into your hair and kills it.”

That could be the only bad chemistry on the team this season.

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Source: Peoria Journal Star, http://bit.ly/1Po0YRg

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com

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