The start of every meet has yielded the same result for the DeKalb-Sycamore boys co-op swim team.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Daniel Hein, Holden Mackey, Dylan Powers and Ryan Schultz has always led off with a win.
“I think starting off the meet with that relay, and the strength we have in that relay, really just sets the tone for the rest of the meet,” Hein said. “We just feed off the energy that that relay starts the meet with.”
DeKalb-Sycamore will look to continue that momentum at the preliminaries of the IHSA state swim meet Friday in Evanston. Hein, Powers, Mackey and Jacob Bjork will swim in the 200 free relay while Hein (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke), Powers (100 butterfly), Schultz (100 breaststroke) and Bjork (100 breaststroke) also compete in individual events.
With the exception of Mackey, four of DeKalb-Sycamore’s five swimmers were at the state meet last year. For Hein, this year will be about redemption
“It was a little disappointing. No one on the team really dropped any time,” said Hein, who didn’t advance past Friday’s preliminary swims last year. “We just didn’t hit the taper at the right time. It was just different for us and we didn’t know how to handle it necessarily.”
Co-op coach Leah Eames said they are making a few changes to the schedule, hoping to shorten a day that starts in the morning and can last until 9 p.m. The experience of being there as a freshman should help Hein adjust to the unusual circumstances of the state meet.
“He was on his feet, he was into the meet every single event ,every single race even if it wasn’t the last heat,” Eames said. “He had friends that he was cheering for, not just on our team, but on other teams that he was interested in. We’re trying to keep him as rested as possible, staying off his feet.”
Hein, who Eames says is leaner and stronger compared to a year ago, will enter Friday with the ninth-best time in the 100-yard butterfly and the third-best time in the 100 backstroke.
He’s hoping to make it into the top 6 in both events, but as usual, everything will start with the medley relay.
“In the relay, we’ve been talking about the whole season of getting in that top 12 finals and swimming on Saturday,” Hein said. “I think we can go fast enough that we could possibly get an All-American time. We’ve just been getting faster and faster.”