When watching the Springfield High boys swimming and diving team practice, chemistry is the first word that comes to mind.
Not only is the team stacked with strong competitors, but the camaraderie is undeniable.
The Senators have parlayed a historic season right up to the Springfield Sectional that will be held Saturday at Eisenhower Pool. The 1-meter diving competition begins at 9 a.m., and swimming events start at 1 p.m.
A state berth is on the line. Swimmers must win the event or beat the state-qualifying time to advance to Winnetka New Trier High School next Friday and Saturday.
"It's the kind of thing we've been training for all year," said sophomore Michael Patton, who will swim in the 100 butterfly (51.44) and 100 backstroke (52.11), including two relays.
Patton, a state-qualifier last year, is the younger brother of Nick Patton, who was an all-conference selection two years ago but didn't participate this season because of injuries.
"He's been helping out as an assistant coach," Michael Patton said. "He pushes me harder because he knows how much I want to do this. Just because he didn't get a chance to do it, it makes me work a little harder just to make him proud."
Senior Gage Hamill appears ready to deliver in his final season. The Indiana University recruit will swim the 200 freestyle (1:42.72) and 100 butterfly (51.10).
"I'm really excited, not only just for sectionals, but also looking forward to state," said Hamill, last year's Central State Eight Conference Swimmer of the Year. "This is probably hands-down the best team overall we've had in school history — divers included."
Speaking of divers, sophomore Drew Harmon has come into his own on the board. He surprised many last season by winning the Edwardsville Sectional to reach state. This season, he set a CS8 conference record, breaking Sacred Heart-Griffin graduate Joe Stegeman's mark from 2010.
"I've been anticipating going to state," Harmon said. "I'm not feeling that sectionals is my last meet."
Harmon's front double-pike dive put him over the top and sent him to state last season. He also relies on his inner one-half and front 2½ and tuck to get him through.
His record-setting score of 443.40 at the CS8 meet was a tribute to past performers such as Stegeman, SHG's John Drake and Springfield's Atticus Teichman.
"It's a great feeling. I knew these people growing up," Harmon said.
Taken from the Sj-r.com