For South Elgin senior boys swimmer Nick Hasemann, it's all about the physics.
Hasemann, who placed fourth in the state last year in the backstroke, has worked hard at perfecting his underwater technique this year.
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"I've improved my under-waters," he said. "My technique is better. I'm doing a lot of strength work and I should be able to pull a lot more water and move faster through the water. I have the ability to pull more water and my core strength helps keep my body in line instead of all over the place. If you travel in a straight line you will travel faster through the water."
Hasemann is back at the state for the fourth and final time this weekend at New Trier High School. He'll swim the backstroke and 200.
"I'm very hungry, trust me," he said. "I have been working the whole year and have been very focused with my training. I've been working every day not just for state but to swim well in general because I have a lot of meets in the next few weeks."
Because South Elgin has no boys team, Hasemann, who will swim at Division I Louisville next season, has been training with his Academy Bullets club team. After state, Hasemann plans on competing in a USA Swimming Illinois-based meet and the junior nationals in Orlando, Fla.
But first, Hasemann would like to end his high school swimming career on a high note this weekend.
"I want to go in there and swim great, but swim smart in my races " he said.
South Elgin junior Alex Duffy qualified in the IM and the butterfly, while Storm senior Taylor Headley will swim at state in the butterfly as well.
Hampshire senior Josh DeDina, part of the District 300 co-op team will compete in the IM and breaststroke. This is his third year at state.
"The breaststroke has always been my thing," DeDina said. "In the IM I get smoked in the backstroke and come back And make everything up in the breast. I've been told medically I have flexible hips, which helps me in the breaststroke. I have been working on my kicks. If you don't have strong kicks you can't go anywhere."
DeDina also has been fast at work improving his overall IM effort.
"I've worked on my butterfly," he said. "I'm putting mu hands closer together. I wasn't very efficient before."
DeDina says he doesn't feel a huge sense of urgency with this being his last go-round at state.
"I want to go in there and make some noise," he said. "There are a lot of people who want me to succeed and I want to do the best I can. This is my best year. I'm coming off a good sectional. I want to keep improving."
DeDina will swim next season at Division I South Dakota State where he will study agricultural business economics.
"They had my major," he said. "I've been around agriculture my whole life. I worked at a feed store, worked for different farmers, have been in 4H and have shown animals since I was nine. I want to do whatever I can to give back to agriculture."
Alex Reinbrecht, DeDina's teammate, qualified in the 200 and the 500. He's in the state meet for the third time in as many tries.
"I'm solid in both races," he said. "I probably swim the 500 the most. With the 500 I try to keep things steady and keep each 50 split as close as possible. The 200 is an all-out sprint. People say the 50 and the 100 are the only sprint races. No. The 200 is a sprint."
Reinbrecht said there is nothing quite like the state finals.
"Freshman year I was in a relay and got to experience state with a group and last year I made it in the 200 and 500. It's a tossup every year there. It's a madhouse. Kids are cutting down their times and schools are breaking national records. It's a free-for-all, but I always have a blast."
Cary-Grove senior Michael Hamann is making his fourth and final state appearance and will be the busiest of the area swimmers, competing in two individual races (IM and 100) and two relays (medley and 400).
"I wouldn't have this any other way," he said. "You always want to do well at state, but there is a sense of urgency. This is my last shot. There is no holding back and no regrets. We have a lot of seniors on the relays. We want to go out hard and make a statement and go out on a high note. I am going to make the most out of my last opportunity and try and do great things."
Hamann noted he was under the weather at the sectional and is hopeful a clean bill of health will result in even greater performances. Last year he placed eighth in the IM.
"I would like to get Top 6 in each event," said Hamann, who will swim at Penn next season and will enter the Wharton School of Business. "The biggest thing is to not get caught up in the mental game. I want to stay focused and leave nothing in the pool. If you leave nothing in the pool you can have no regrets. It's awesome we have the relays going. We'd like to get one if not both to finals."
Hamann swims the medley with Adam Eibel (breast, Crystal Lake South), Tyler King (fly, Prairie Ridge) and Andrew Brierton (freestyle, Cary-Grove). Hamann, King, Brierton and Adam Gaynor (Prairie Ridge) comprise the 400 relay for the District 155 co-op.
Huntley senior Matt Haage qualified for his first state finals in the 50.
"I qualified for state by a hundredth of a second," he said. "It doesn't get any closer than that. I've been trying to reduce the amount of breaths I take in the race. I got it down to one at conference and had none at sectionals. That ended up paying off. I'm also working at getting my starts better. I want to get off to a good start and get a good turn."
Haage would like to lower his time even further at state.
"I am happy I qualified," he said. "I am going to go into the race with confidence and know that anything could happen."
In terms of sectional performances, Hasemann had the third-fastest sectional times in the state in both the backstroke and the 200. Hamann had the fourth-fastest time in the IM, while Reinbrecht had the sixth-fastest in the 500.