BARRINGTON – Michael Hamann spent a lot of time over the past week seeking advice from coaches and scanning the times of other swimmers in the state to decide what event he should swim at Saturday's Barrington Sectional.
It ultimately came down to a gut decision, as the Cary-Grove co-op senior tossed aside his usual 100-yard backstroke in favor of the 100 butterfly.
"I just sat down and took a look at the state rankings and said, 'OK, I'm 95 percent sure these kids can beat me and these are 50/50'," Hamann said. "The fly had about one or two less kids that could beat me, but I just felt more confident in my fly than by backstroke for some reason."
Hamann made a name for himself in the backstroke, having swum the event at state multiple times, but the decision to swim the butterfly paid off.
The now four-time state qualifier finished second in the 100 butterfly in 51.14 seconds, more than a second under the qualifying time and just shy of his personal goal of an All-America time. He also won the 200 individual medley in state-qualifying fashion and was a key member of two relay teams that will be headed to Winnetka for the state meet Friday and Saturday at New Trier. Hamann was the only individual to qualify for state for the Trojans.
"I'm a little disappointed for a few kids that came really close," Trojans coach Rick Schaefer said. "We're in the same situation as last year with one guy qualifying in two individuals and two relays, but it's nice to make the relays two years in a row, and the [200 medley relay] has three new kids on it, so that's good for them."
The Trojans were the only area team that qualified a relay, but the Woodstock co-op team of Morgan Hofmann, Trevor Nomm, Henry Gantner and Adam Steinken missed the state-cut in the 400 freestyle relay by 0.06.
"It's tough," Blue Streaks coach Ian Shanahan said. "I just wish it wasn't that close."
The Blue Streaks did have some impressive individual swims as Gantner qualified for state in the 50 freestyle by the slimmest of margins – 0.01 – while Steinken qualified in the 100 freestyle, an event he has swum a handful of times.
"I'm happy," Steinken said. "I've been working a ton for it, but when I got the time it was weird. I felt relieved more than excited. I'm bummed I didn't [qualify] in the breaststroke because I've been working on that for four years, but I got to state, so that's pretty cool. It was my goal and it's funny that it comes in the 100 freestyle, which I've only swam by itself five times."
Jacobs co-op also had great day. The Golden Eagles had two individuals qualify in two events apiece. Josh DeDina qualified in the 200 IM and the 100 breastroke. It was a big moment for him as he mentioned last week that he has tendinitis in both shoulders and it had been bothering him for a while.
The Golden Eagles' Alex Reinbrecht was the talk of the meet after his 500 freestyle swim. The junior bettered the state time standard by more than 10 seconds as he posted a 4:37.47. He also qualified in the 200 freestyle.
"It was really good," Reinbrecht said of his 500 swim. "It just felt really fast. I was telling DeDina today that I wanted to go under 4:40 because that's what I did last year at sectionals, and I got it. I'm not at all tapered or shaved, and I'm really excited to go to state next week and drop a lot more time. A top-10 finish would be nice.
"When I got back to our team section I was talking to my mom and I was crying I was so happy. It's just amazing."
The host Broncos won the meet by 60 points, while the Trojans placed fourth with 158. Jacobs co-op (98) was sixth, Woodstock co-op (91) finished seventh and McHenry (42) was 11th.