Chris Parolin didn’t notice much of a difference.
As a sophomore in 2002, Parolin and Fenwick won the first IHSA state championship in boys water polo. He also won state one year earlier when the Friars captured the last state title as part of the Illinois Swimming Association.
It wasn’t until other IHSA spring sports state champions were crowned in 2002 that Parolin realized Fenwick’s feat was on par with other schools.
“When I first looked back on it, there was not much to it,” said Parolin, who is now 28 and a medical supplies sales representative in Chicago. “But I do think it gave us a sense of being in a relationship with other sports. The big difference was getting the recognition.”
While lacrosse hopes to become an IHSA sport, water polo continues to see growth as the last sport to join the IHSA after decades of falling under the direction of the ISA, an association for the state’s high school swimming, diving and water polo coaches.