October 29, 2008
By James Nokes - Daily Chronicle
|ROB WINNER | [email protected] Tara Gidaszewski, a freshman of Sycamore High School, practices the back stroke during practice at DeKalb HIgh School on Friday. 10/24/2008|
DeKALB - With great fury water splashes over
the gutters in the DeKalb pool. Swimmers do a flip turn, push off
the wall and continue their seemingly endless training session. As
snow flakes flutter outside on a cold fall day, the temperature
inside resembles July as swimmers in the Sycamore-DeKalb co-op
swimming team cut through the water.
In most sports when DeKalb and Sycamore square off it is a neighborhood civil war. It’s a big event that draws out a huge number of spectators from both communities. But in swimming DeKalb and Sycamore are a single entity. Because Sycamore doesn’t have a pool, they compete at DeKalb under banners that share the colors of both teams.
“When you are together so long you forget who goes to DeKalb or who goes to Sycamore,ý Sycamore freshman Nicole Pearcy said. “It’s just one big team.ý
And because the IHSA has established just one class for swimming, DeKalb and Sycamore have joined forces to take on the best talent the state has to offer. In swimming, the winner at the end of the year is truly the best of the best.
“We truly compete against every person in the state,ý DeKalb coach Mary Beth McGill said. “There is just one class and we don’t mind that. We want to swim against the best; we won’t shy away from it.ý
Through a dedicated group of swimmers that compete year round, DeKalb has become a top 20 swimming program and at the same time has also watched their all-time records fall by the wayside.
“Swimming is all muscle,ý Pearcy, who swims the 200 meter freestyle and the butterfly, said. “You work one muscle at a time to build it up and then switch it around. Instead of a few bulky muscles we’ve got long muscles built for enduranceý
Which explains the lean, athletic frames swimmers posses; they look more like fitness instructors than body builders. This allows them to stay limber when making their strokes, which are honed through hours of swimming at different paces, times and with different implements meant to isolate muscle movements.
“If you focus on yourself more than everyone else it is easier,ý Tara Gidaszewski, a freshman from Sycamore that swims the 100 meter back stroke, said. “You are competing against your own goals and not everyone else in the pool.ý
With a 9-1 record, the co-op is one of the most successful fall sports in the school. But they keep a humble approach.
“They know it,ý McGill said. “But kudos to them for not walking around overconfident, as soon as you do that someone comes up and beats you.ý