Swim together, stay together

By Gus Bode

Freshman Shaun Wolfe looks to create his own footsteps instead of following in those of his brother senior swimmer Justin Wolfe.

Shaun Wolfe is a freestyle swimmer who swims the 50 and 100 yard events for the Saluki swimming team. He had a strong performance Oct. 28, when he won against Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Justin Wolfe is coming off a win at the Miami of Ohio Invitational in the 100 butterfly with a 48:61 final time, but the brothers’ strong relationship, both in and out of the pool, makes dealing with high expectations easier for the younger brother.


“Having a brother on the team helps a lot because you have someone who you have a good bond with, and makes you feel more comfortable,” Shaun Wolfe said.

Senior swimmer Justin Wolfe, left, and brother, freshman swimmer Shaun Wolfe, horse around Monday during a portrait at the Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Shaun competes in the freestyle and butterfly, and Justin competes in the backstroke and butterfly. Steve Matzker | Daily Egyptian

Justin Wolfe said dealing with an older brother’s success created some unfair expectations at times for the younger Wolfe. As a senior at Bloomington High School, Justin was a two-time all-state selection and won the Illinois High School Association state championship in the 100 fly.

“My brother won state, and people would say, ‘you should win state too’,” Shaun Wolfe said. “But I didn’t.”

Justin Wolfe is quick to say Shaun Wolfe is the more talented of the two, and he sees a lot of potential in his younger brother. Though Shaun Wolfe didn’t win state his senior year, Justin Wolfe said his brother actually swam better during the race his senior year.

“He had so (many) expectations riding on him because I had won before him,” Justin Wolfe said. “His time compared to mine was so much faster, but he was beat by two one-hundredths of a second. You couldn’t even tell by watching the race.”

Fair or not, Justin Wolfe said he knows people will continue to compare the brothers. He said he has always been supportive of Shaun Wolfe as a captain, teammate and brother.


Justin Wolfe said there will not be any hard feelings if his brother performs better than him because the team comes first.

Assistant coach Scott Olson said the brothers’ lack of envy towards each other should not be seen as a lack of competitiveness but more as a testament to amount of character the two bring to the team.

“They’re great teammates and great family members,” Olson said. “They are competitive. But at the same time, they care for each other.”

The brothers grill and relax with other team members in their free time, and the two seem to be in sync in the pool as well. They, along with senior Matt Parsons and sophomore Juan Arbelaez, set the 10th fastest time in the 200 freestyle in the NCAA during a tri-meet Nov. 6 against the Universities of Kentucky and Missouri.

Shaun Wolfe credits his brother for helping ease his transition during his freshman year, and Olson said he is adjusting well.

“With any freshman that comes in, you have some expectations,” Olson said. “Once you go into that new area of being at a university and a new environment, you learn a lot about who you are. I think Shaun (Wolfe) is learning to find out who Shaun (Wolfe) is, and that is a benefit to him.”