Daily Herald Article about DCST Swimmer Josh DeDina

DeDina, Haseman qualify for state

With his purple cap bobbing up and down in the water, it wasn’t too hard to miss Hampshire’s lone swimmer in Saturday’s IHSA St. Charles North sectional as he competed in the 100-yard breaststroke.

It was even harder to miss Josh DeDina when he stepped onto the Lane 4 starting block after that race, a representation of his fourth-place finish in the heats that qualify swimmers for next week’s state meet at New Trier.

DeDina’s time in the race was 1:01.28, good enough to send the sophomore to the state meet for the first time, meaning that purple cap will be heading with its owner to Friday’s state prelims.

“I was close last year, just a couple of tenth’s off,” DeDina said. “But it was pretty good for my freshman year.”

DeDina swims for a club year-round but is allowed by the IHSA to compete in the state series because his school does not sponsor a team.

“It’s good that my hard work paid off and I got recognized,” DeDina said.

DeDina plays basketball for Hampshire as well and said he made two-item goal sheet for both sports — something he carries with him every day with his car keys.

“My two goals for swimming were to qualify for nationals, which I did last weekend and to qualify for the state meet,” DeDina said. “If you aim small, you miss small and I’m real happy right now to have done this. It’s a great feeling.”

DeDina is friends with Kaneland’s Grant Alef, who qualified in the 500 freestyle and set a pool record in the 100 backstroke. Last year, DeDina went to Evanston to watch the state finals from the viewing gallery. This year, he will be on-deck as a competitor.

“The atmosphere is ridiculous,” DeDina said. “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s so crazy and I’m very excited to get a chance to do it.”

South Elgin sophomore Nick Haseman knows all about the scene on-deck at the state swim meet. He qualified in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke as a freshman. He repeated that feat on Saturday, qualifying in those same events.

“Hopefully it will be better because I know what I’m doing,” Haseman said. “It’s kind of cool to represent South Elgin. I enjoy swimming a lot so I enjoy being able to come here to swim.”

Haseman is already ahead of last year’s pace. In the state prelims last year, he swam 1:44.46 in the 200 freestyle and 53.31 in the 100 backstroke. In this year’s sectional, Haseman’s times were 1:43.23 in the 200 freestyle and 52.27 in the 100 backstroke.

“So many people came up to me and said ‘don’t worry about this meet, it’s all about next week,’ ” Haseman said. “So I just said ‘all right, that’s cool.’ I enjoyed my time here and I’m looking forward to state. I’m rested a little but the focus is next week.”

Bartlett finished sixth in the meet but did not qualify any swimmers for the state meet. While team coach Carl Metzke would have loved to have taken swimmers to New Trier, he said his team performed very well at St. Charles North.

“Every single time we had today, we dropped time — every event,” Metzke said. “We ended on a high note and we only graduate a handful of guys. The guys coming back know it’s up to them. A lot of them were just getting introduced to swimming and they’re liking it.”

Metzke said the challenge comes for those swimmers in the coming months, to improve themselves and to be ready for the start of practice in November for the 2011-12 season.

“They know they’re going to be swimming in the offseason,” Metzke said. “We’re going to put in the work to pick up where we left off today. I was really impressed with what we saw today.”

Freshman Jacob Pawelkiewicz finished seventh in the 100 freestyle for the team’s top performance. He also swam extremely well as the anchor to his school’s 400 freestyle relay.

“We’re leaving here today with our heads held high that we did something right,” Metzke said. “They know our system works now and we want to run with it.”