Hinsdale South seniors serious when it comes to competition
Orland Park, IL - Saturday, January 12, 2013: Hinsdale South's Gunnar Wagner competes in the 50 Freestyle at the Al Gillberg Invitational. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 2:05AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Hinsdale South seniors Gunnar Wagner and Austin Hultmark believe they make each other better swimmers.
Both sprinters have raced against each other many times during practices and meets.
“We’re kind of like the drive for each other,” Wagner said. “Just a while ago he was going a tenth of a second faster than me and now I’m going faster than him. We’re just driving each other to get faster.”
Wagner got the best of his friend Saturday at the Lyons Invitational in Western Springs.
Wagner finished second in the 50-yard freestyle (22.66 seconds) and third in the 100 free (49.69) to lead Hinsdale South to a fourth-place finish in the six-team field. Hultmark was third in the 50 free (22.92).
“It’s actually a lot of fun being on the team with (Wagner),” Hultmark said. “We end up racing each other a lot, which is good because we’ll push each other. I’ll go a little faster one meet and then he’ll beat me the next one. We’re both progressing and getting better together, so that’s really good. Lately he’s been doing a little better than me, but hopefully I can catch back up.
“We’re competitive with each other, but we’re good friends, too. It’s a friendly competition.”
Wagner is competitive with his older brothers as well. Kyle and Hutton Wagner also both swam for the Hornets.
“When they tell me they can go faster, it kind of gives me the drive to go faster,” Wagner said.
Hinsdale South coach Frank Kuchta has been impressed with the work ethic of his entire senior class this season.
“That whole group of seniors, and a couple sophomores, they train the same way and together they push each other all the time,” Kuchta said. “It might be the best group I’ve had to work with in a long time. At times I almost think they’re too serious. That’s only because they are focused.”
Hinsdale South’s relays have also looked promising.
Wagner and Hultmark teamed with senior Ryan O’Toole and sophomore Jason Yang to take second in the 200 free relay (1:30.69) Saturday.
“We’re really focusing on the techniques in practice,” Wagner said. “We’re trying to fine-tune everything before sectionals come up.”
“I think we’re looking really good,” Hultmark said. “Our relays are doing really well. We’ll go out there as hard as we can at sectionals and see what happens. Individually, I’m a lot better than where I was last year and had a harder season working at practice. I’m hoping my taper will be really good this year.”