Hinsdale South senior swimmer Sebastian Ostrowksi said it’s been nice having the pool to himself this week.
“You can change the music to whatever you want to listen to,” he said. “Yesterday I was listening to Polish rap.”
Ostrowski, who at last weekend’s Sectional swam to a top overall State seed in the 100-yard backstroke, and Hinsdale Central junior Danny Thomson, the top overall seed in the 500-yard freestyle, are both headed to the State swim and dive meet at New Trier Township High School in Winnetka Friday and Saturday as the swimmers to beat in those events.
Six other Red Devils will compete this weekend while only one Hornet, senior diver Cameron Paladino, will join Ostrowski.
At last year’s meet, Ostrowksi placed 12th in the 100-back and was disqualified for a false start in the 200-yard individual medley, which he again qualified for this year. Thomson is the defending State champion in the 500-free, his only individual event this year. He’ll swim as a part of both the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.
Other qualifying swimmers from Hinsdale Central are senior Max Morimoto (100-yard freestyle and both relays) and senior Kyle Fredrickson (100-yard breaststroke). Seniors Ben Marsh (medley), Mike DeSalle (400-free) and C.J. Von Wormer (medley and 400-free) will compete in the relays.
Sophomore Red Devils diver Ryan O’Donnell will compete, as well.
Hinsdale Central swim coach Corky King said Thursday he didn’t want his swimmers speaking to the media so close to competition. He doesn’t want to add to the pressure.
“Certain athletes thrive under that but most kids—that’s why we call them kids—they get caught up in it and get nervous,” King said. “The key is, how do [they] psyche up and stay relaxed at the same time.”
King said that at practice this week, swimmers tapered their distance totals to 1,000 to 1,500 yards per day, compared to the approximately 10,000 yards they swim during typical midseason practices. He said the qualifiers will shave their head and body hair Thursday night, which will help them be more aerodynamic in the water.
But at this point, King said, preparation is 90 percent psychological.
“We’re going to go for it,” King said. “We’re going to let it all hang out. If it’s to be, it’s to be.”
Hinsdale South's Ostrowksi said his goal is to finish first in the backstroke. Regarding the individual medley, swim coach Frank Kuchta said Ostrowski is good at using bad experiences, like last year’s disqualification, as motivation. Ostrowksi agreed.
“If someone from the other team said ‘You couldn’t do this,’ I’ll be like, ‘No, I’m going to do that event and I’m going to beat you in it.’”
Paladino, who compiled a 385.1 11-dive score at last weekend’s Sectional is just happy to be at State after narrowly missing it the last two years. While he’s only been to the State meet as a spectator in the past, the diver is ready for tougher judges and the New Trier facility.
“Judging’s going to be different wherever you go; I know at State they’ve always judged pretty low so I’m expecting lower scores,” Paladino said. “I’ve dove at New Trier before. I know how their boards feel and what to expect.”
Neither Paladino nor Ostrowski said they’re nervous.
“This whole week has been watching movies, listening to music, just relaxing,” Ostrowski said. “Not stressing out too much about school, which might not be a good thing, but it’s not a bad thing either. Just taking life as it comes to you; just letting go.”