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Daily Chronicle Article about DCST National Team

Listed below is an article about DCST's National Team written by the Daily Chronicle.

Suiting up for Nationals

By ASHLEY SCHRADER - [email protected]

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Kishwaukee YMCA and DeKalb County Swim Team member Emily Waller checks her time during practice Monday at the Kishwuakee YMCA in Sycamore. Waller and 14 of her DCST members will be competing in the YMCA Nationals Championships next week at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. (Beck Diefenbach – [email protected])


For the experienced members of the DeKalb County Swim Team, competing at Nationals is more about the racing than it is about the experience.

"Nationals opens your eyes to what is out there,” DCST member David Gordon said, “Competition wise, it gives you a good idea of how you measure up with everyone else.”

For competitive swimmers all across the nation, the YMCA National Championships – taking place next week at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. – are what their seasons have been building up to built up to. Fifteen DCST members will be competing alongside almost 1,500 other swimmers.

DCST members making the trip are: Grant Alef, David and Michael Gordon, Chad Thompson, Cory Page, Kei Ishimaru, Emily Waller, Emily Launer, Valerie Jones, Katie and Rebecca Hallenbeck, Kate Taylor, Sharon Isola, Tara Gidaszewski, and Casey Jepsen.

Next week’s meet will be an exciting one, but also bittersweet. Nationals will mark the end of the line for the seniors, DCST coach Brian Bickner said. It will be the last meet before David Gordon and Waller head to Xavier and Bowling Green, respectively.

For the remaining swimmers, such as Alef and Thompson, nationals provides strong competition in preparation for the high school swim season and beyond.

“[Nationals] is such good competition,” Taylor said, “During the regular season, and especially swimming in dual meets, it is kind of just swimming against yourself. At nationals, you actually get a better feeling for racing compared to swimming for time.”

Throughout all of next week, every event will be run in a preliminary, semifinal and final order with the exception of the 800- and 1,500-yard races. For DCST swimmers, the week will be a busy one, but one that they have trained hard for. 

“Success breeds success,” Bickner said. “When the kids can see the other kids making it and achieving well, then they want it too. It can make it easier for the next group to qualify. It’s a snowball effect.”

Taylor and Gordon both agree that they are well prepared for next week, thanks to higher quality workouts and tapering on the yardage during their two-a-day practices.

“My main goal is to lower my best time and shoot to place in the top 16 in all my events, and earn All- American status,” Gordon said.

With many of the DCST swimmers heading to Maryland with high seeds, the team is looking to improve upon its 12th-place finish at last year’s Nationals.