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DeKalb Chronicle Article about DCST HS Swimmers

Barbs have sights set on state

By JON STYF - jstyf@daily-chronicle.com

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DeKALB – A bad start, or a bad flip turn, is all it would take.

That could make a season end today, abruptly.

That's the danger of sectional season as the DeKalb/Sycamore boys swimming team heads to the St. Charles East Sectional this morning.

The Barbs have three state qualifiers returning and a team of nine swimmers looking to make a mark in a tough sectional featuring Marmion, St. Charles North and St. Charles East.

Junior Michael Gordon and senior Chad Thompson look like the Barbs' best bets to make the state as individuals, having already swam state times this season, with junior Cory Page and sophomore Kei Ishimaru not far behind.

"Sectionals is probably one of the most intense meets of the year and Illinois is one of the best swimming states in the nation and it takes a lot to make it to state," DeKalb/Sycamore coach Leah Eames said. "There’s always that chance something can go wrong, no matter how much you prepare. There’s no definite anything. Top swimmers have false-started at sectionals before and never made it to state. The fact that nothing is definite is nerve-racking."

Gordon has state times in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke while Thompson also had swam faster than the state cut in the 200 IM and is close in the 100 backstroke.

The pair will be joined by Page and Ishimaru in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays today. The Barbs are seeded first in the 400 freestyle race while Thompson and Gordon are both seeded in the top three in their individual events.

Swimmers need to beat the state cut time in their event or win the event at sectionals to advance to the state meet on next weekend in Evanston.

"We have quite a few possibilities of people making state," Eames said. "Both Chad and Michael are focusing more on state, but we’re still pretty confident they will do well Saturday."

Ishimaru also will race in the 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke while Page races in the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Both have shown significant improvement this season and hope to have a good showing in sectionals.

Marc Dubrick (500 free, 100 back), Taylor Roose (200 free, 100 fly), Sam Seneczko (200 free, 500 free) and Josh Page (50 free and 100 free) also will compete individually for the Barbs while Josh Page, Roose, Seneczko and Alex Feczko will compete together in the 200 free relay.

"Our main goal is to send as many guys as we can to state," Eames said. "We also hope to have a top-three finish. I don't know if we have enough depth to win it, plus we are hurt a lot in points by not having a diving program. But we have a lot of guys in the top three in their events."

On their own: Two Kishwaukee YMCA/DeKalb County Swim Team members will be at today's meet on their own. Kaneland junior Grant Alef qualified for state in a pair of events and will be swimming in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke races.

Hampshire's Josh DeDina will be swimming in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke races.

Because neither Kaneland nor Hampshire has swimming teams, the pair have worked out with DCST throughout the year and will be at the meet with a liaison from the schools.