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Boys swimming the road to state

Ethan+Chiu%2C+Div.+866%2C+swims+the+100-yard+breaststroke+at+City.
Ethan Chiu, Div. 866, swims the 100-yard breaststroke at City.

Ethan Chiu, Div. 866, swims the 100-yard breaststroke at City.

Photo Courtesy of Ethan Chiu

Photo Courtesy of Ethan Chiu

Ethan Chiu, Div. 866, swims the 100-yard breaststroke at City.

By Evan Patrick, Reporter

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Last year the Boys Swim Team sent Daniel Puczko, Div. 878, to state for the 500-yard freestyle. This year, despite the loss of four school record holders — Max Boettcher, Mark Gullickson, Ben Martinez, and Justin Trieu — boys swimming is feeling strong.

“We don’t have really fast guys, as we did last year,” said Coach Adams. “But we have a much stronger freshman class than we’ve ever had.”

And this year the team is in an entirely different sectional.

“This year we’re not facing North Shore teams,” Adams said.

Instead of facing teams like New Trier and Glenbrook South, who both ranked in the top ten in the state last year, Boys Swimming will go up against teams like Whitney Young and Saint Ignatius at their sectional meet.  

“The competition is going to be a lot more to our level,” Adams said “We are actually going to be able to race somebody else like us.”

In addition to a different sectional, the team is also undergoing a different training regimen for optimal athletic performance leading up to sectionals.

“As opposed to getting easy, trying to rebuild, break ourselves down and then get easy again in a two week span, we are just gunning all the way through until sectionals,” Adams said.

Now that the Junior Varsity season is over, the team has had more space in the pool and has enlisted the help of Assistant Coach O’Hagan, giving each swimmer more individualized attention.

“The sprinters do a different workout than, say, Puczko will do for distance,” Adams said. “It’s very athlete-centered.”

Puczko swims the 500-yard and 200-yard freestyle events. Last year Puczko placed fifth at sectionals in the 500-yard freestyle and met the designated time to move on to state.

“[Adams] is focusing more on increasing my yardage and making me maintain a pace for a longer duration of time,” Puczko said.

“[500-yards] is the longest event that we have, so for [Puczko] it is really important that he is able to look at a long race like that — which is twice as long as our next longest race — that he looks at it as almost just smaller chunks,” Adams said. “A lot of the workouts that we do with him is solely to make sure that he knows what that pace feels like and be locked in in a race.”    

William Quan, Div. 855, swims the 100-yard breaststroke, is optimistic his time will qualify him for state.

“I think I have a pretty decent chance to go to state,” Quan said.

In addition to working with O’Hagan, Quan is working on his own to cut down his time.

“I try to change my stroke every practice, do something different every time,” Quan said. “Every 100 [yards] I’ll try a different technique with my stroke, see which one works out the best.”

Adams said he also hopes to send the 200-yard medley relay to state this year, something that hasn’t been done for “probably closer to a decade if not more.”

The Boys Swimming sectional meet is Feb. 18 at UIC, state preliminaries are Feb. 24, and the state finals are Feb. 25. State preliminaries and state finals are both held at New Trier.  

  

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Boys swimming the road to state