Cary-Grove's Hamann 4th in IM

By Jeff Newton
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/23/2013 9:17 PM
  • Michael Hamann of Cary-Grove swims the backstroke during the 200-yard individual medley finals Saturday at New Trier.

      Michael Hamann of Cary-Grove swims the backstroke during the 200-yard individual medley finals Saturday at New Trier. JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

While the time or the place may not have been to the liking of Cary Grove senior Michael Hamann, the fact that he made his own kind of history Saturday was more than satisfying enough.

With his fourth place finish in the 200 individual medley at the IHSA state championships held at New Trier, the Penn-bound Hamann became the first swimmer from Cary Grove to medal in three straight state meets and the first with a top 6 finish.

"To be the first to medal three times and to follow in the footsteps of someone like Brent Curtis is just incredible," Hamann said. "I've never had the chance to swim in the top six before so it was pretty incredible."

South Elgin senior and Louisville-bound Nick Hasemann earned a pair of medals for the Storm. His clocking of 1:40.77 was good for eighth in the 200 freestyle.

Hasemann closed out his senior year with a 50.77 swim for 6th overall in the 100 backstroke.

In the final 500-yard freestyle of his high school swimming career, Jonathon Burke got exactly the race he wanted.

And the Conant senior made the most of it.

Qualifying fifth to the championship heat in Saturday's state finals session at New Trier, Burke was determined to stay close to swimmers such as Reed Malone of New Trier and Peter Grumhaus of Lake Forest in the center lanes.

So Burke followed their starting pace, only backing off just a bit at about the halfway point.

"I knew that we'd all gone out at a pretty good pace," he said. "I didn't think I'd be able to quite hold that the entire way."

Once Malone and Grumhaus got some separation, that still left Burke in a tight contest with the swimmer right next to him, Kyle Gannon of St. Charles North. The North Stars junior edged ahead slightly, but Burke had enough in reserve to overtake him and finish his prep career with a flourish.

A best-ever third-place finish, in a lifetime best time of 4:29.90. Malone (4:23.27) ended up edging Grumhaus (4:24.24); those two had the same placement in the 200 free.

Burke said being able to concentrate solely on the 500 Saturday may have helped him more than anything. It also helped that, unlike a day earlier, Burke wasn't fighting through the lingering disappointment of what he considered a lost opportunity.

In Friday's preliminary session, Burke's first race was the 200 freestyle. He didn't advance to the finals, and trying to bounce back mentally was a chore the rest of that day.

"It really is kind of hard, because if I'd just been able to repeat my sectional time, I'd have been in the finals," he said. "But then, swimming is like that. You need to be able to regroup."

For Barrington, it was smooth sailing in the finals.

The Broncos got a fifth-place finish from senior Kyle Ujiiye in the 100 fly and a ninth-place finish from Jack Strauss in the 100 free.

All three of Barrington's relays improved their time from prelims, and team records were broken in each case. Best of all, each relay either moved up or held its seeded position, all of which helped the Broncos net 38 points and a 12th-place team finish.

"I'm just really happy for my guys," said coach John Valentine. "We were prepared for this day, and it really showed up in the performances."

The medley relay of Brandon Baranowski, Sam Miseyka, Kyle Ujiiye and Sebastian Piekarski finished 10th in 1:36.21, an improvement of two places.

The 200 free relay of Miseyka, Piekarski, Ujiiye and Strauss held its eighth-place seed but lopped another half-second from its qualifying time, finishing in 1:25.69.

And Barrington's 400 free relay of Ujiiye, Piekarski, Chris Vega and Strauss, seeded 12th, punctuated the session with a 3:08.80, more than a second better than its qualifying effort. Strauss' anchor leg was key, as he overtook three relays that were ahead of Barrington when he entered the water.

"Last swim, no reason to hold anything back," Strauss said. "I took it out really aggressively and just tried to put everything into the race."

Ujiiye was deeply pleased to see the completion of what was a very successful season for Barrington's program.

On a more personal level, there was already a tinge of sadness as he discussed the just-finished season -- and stellar high school career -- poolside at New Trier.

"It's bittersweet for me," he said. "My favorite part of the school year is the three months when I'm in swimming. Part of me just wishes it could keep going.

"But I'm super proud of this team, this group of guys. I wouldn't trade this for anything."

Aaron Gabriel contributed to this report

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