2017 Northwest Herald Boys Swimmer of the Year: Cary-Grove co-op's Ethan Hare

All winter Cary-Grove co-op senior Ethan Hare kept his focus firmly on returning to the state meet. As the only returning swimmer from a 2016 state relay, Hare knew what times the Trojans needed to be swimming at each point of the season. As the team’s senior captain, he knew he had to set the example and push his teammates to get back to the state’s biggest meet.

That work paid off when he helped the Cary-Grove co-op 200-yard freestyle relay team reach state, where it won its preliminary heat with a time of 1:27.3, but didn’t advance to the finals.

Hare also was the only local swimmer to qualify for the state meet in an individual race, reaching the prelims of the 200-yard freestyle. Hare swam a 1:44.36 in his heat, taking third, and placing 26th out of 39 swimmers.

Before the state series, Hare won two individual races and was on two winning relays at the Fox Valley Conference meet, where he was named co-MVP and helped the Trojans take their 10th consecutive conference title.

For those accomplishments, Hare was named the Northwest Herald’s 2017 Boys Swimmer of the Year, as selected by the sports staff with input from local coaches.  

Hare recently talked with reporter John Wilkinson about superstitions, making it to state, listening to classic rock and more.

What was your favorite moment of this season?

Hare: That would have to be the 200 free relay at the state meet. That was something that we had been working toward all year and to get back there with a bunch of guys that are great friends, great teammates, to drop time at state, win our heat and we had the other guys that were on the sectional team up in the stands supporting us. It was just a really cool experience all around.

What made the biggest difference for you this season?

Hare: I guess the mentality that this was possibly my last year as a swimmer. I’m still undecided if it is or not. I just wanted to make sure that I would go out with a bang and leave the team with something good, because I’ve been swimming for eight years and I wanted to make sure that for me, but as well as for my team, I’d end in the best way possible. 

Which teammate made you laugh the most?

Hare: Kolin Fadden. It’s not even on purpose either, that’s what makes him the funniest teammate. He’s just got the best comments, the best asides, at the best times, too. It’s nice to have him around. He can keep you loose in a tense situation.

Who is a professional athlete you’d like to hang out with for a day?

Hare: Probably Patrick Kane. I’ve been a hockey fan for a while and a Blackhawks fan, and I just look up to him as an athlete, and I think it would be really cool to see what he’s like.

What superstitions do you have?

Hare: I actually have a ton. I guess the main ones would be, I always walk around with a jacket and shorts at a swim meet, and I’ve always got to keep the goggles in the right pocket and the cap in the left. If those are flipped, or if I’ve got them in the same pocket, that throws me all off. There’s that, and then before every race, I’ll do a routine of shaking out my arms twice each, legs twice each and then I’ll do a couple freestyle strokes in the air.

What do you listen to when you’re getting ready for a race?

Hare: I’m a huge classic rock fan, so it’s all stuff like that. Usually some Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, those are some of my favorite bands, so those are what I’ve got going pre-race.

What’s the best coaching or advice you’ve received?

Hare: That would probably be to never forget to have fun. Because I’ve seen so many athletes work themselves up too much at a big meet, and then they forget that a big part of the sport, any sport, the purpose is to have fun. So I think the best advice I’ve ever received is just to balance the work with the fun.

What do you want to study in college?

Hare: In college, I’m going on a pre-medicine track, and I’m going to major in biology and minor in neuroscience. 

What made you want to do that?

Hare: My mom is an advanced practice nurse, and that’s always been something that I’ve been very interested in, health professionals. I just think it’s a very noble profession, and I’ve always wanted to know that whatever I did with my life, I would be making a genuine difference in the world each and every day. With a field like this I know I would be fulfilling that. 

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever swam?

Hare: Probably the Y(MCA) nationals swim meet in Greensboro, North Carolina. The nicest facility I’ve ever been to, it’s a really cool place, really cool atmosphere. 

What’s your least favorite stroke?

Hare: Breaststroke. That one took me the longest time to figure out. I’ve struggled the most with that one, trying to figure out how to be the most efficient with that.

Who is someone you look up to?

Hare: My coach. I really do look up to Scott [Lattyak]. His general mindset and attitude toward life is something I hope to achieve someday. I think he’s a very intelligent man, and I think he is an excellent coach. He knows how to be adaptable and make sure everyone on the team feels included. I’d like to be as good of a leader as him someday.

What is your favorite and lease favorite subject in school?

Hare: Favorite subject is biology, least favorite is English. 

What’s something you want to do this summer after you graduate?

Hare: I’d like to go to Ohio to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as Cedar Point.

What’s your favorite post-meet meal?

Hare: A burger. That’s something that I definitely stay away from leading up to big meets where I’m tapering for, so after that’s over it’s nice to just be able to eat a greasy burger.

When you think back on your time swimming in high school, what will you remember most?

Hare: I will remember the bond that I have built with all the guys that I’ve swam with over the years. The team has definitely changed quite a bit and there are people from each and every year and it just gets better and better. I really do enjoy the genuine friendships that have been built on this team, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Are there any other sports you wish you were good at or think you could be good at?

Hare: I played baseball when I was younger, and I wasn’t very good, but I feel like if I wasn’t swimming now I’d probably try baseball again. I’ve always thought that was a cool sport, so I’d like to pick that up. 

If you could go back in time to a historical period or event what would you choose?

Hare: I’d probably go back and I’d like to be a teenager in like the ‘60s and ‘70s, that’s when all the music I listen to came out, so I think that would be pretty cool.

What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

Hare: I think something that most people, probably my teammates don’t even know about me, is that I’m really not the most confident person in the world. I go into every big meet questioning if I’ll be able to do what I think I can. I definitely have goals, and I definitely know what I think is achievable, but there is always a part of me that wonders whether or not I can do it.

What was it like for you being the team’s leader this year?

Hare: I consider it to be a huge honor. Being named not only the captain but being looked at as a leader is something that I worked years and years for. To finally achieve that as a senior is a great honor. When our end-of-season banquet happened, I had about 12 or 13 of the varsity guys that trained with me come up to me and hand me letter that they wrote about how much I meant to them and how much I influenced them and what a positive aspect to the team that I was. In all honesty, that moment there is worth any medal or time that I ever could have achieved, to know that I made that much of a difference in these guys’ lives.

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