Buffalo Grove roams as home pool progresses

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Next season, the Buffalo Grove boys swim and dive team will compete in a gleaming, completely refurbished swimming pool.

“I’m pretty excited to come back home and swim with the team next year,” senior Zach Augustyn said.

The price for the refurbished pool is a season as swimming nomads. The Bison won’t have a true home meet all year.

The team practices three times a week at Wheeling and once at Elk Grove. Starting times for practices range from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., although rarely does a week go by where a practice time does not change. Another casualty of the schedule is the ability to host early morning practices.

The situation is far from ideal, but the Bison (2-2, 0-2 MSL East) are making the best of it. First-year coach Tim O’Hagan, an assistant the past three seasons, said 10 of his 14 varsity swimmers have not missed a practice. He credited his veterans, particularly Augustyn and K.C. Lotzer, for making sure everyone is accountable at each practice.

“We’re a little bit of a gypsy band, but it provided an opportunity to show leadership,” O’Hagan said. “The seniors have made sure everyone is aware when practice starts and has a ride.”

Lotzer said the seniors decided before the season that it is imperative not to use the lack of a pool as an excuse.

“We didn’t want that to drag the team down,” he said. “We wanted to set an example of working hard all the time.”

Since the team is limited to one practice a day, the Bison have to make the most of every minute in the water.

“We’re focused on high-intensity sprint repeats and hopefully the endurance will come as the season progresses,” O’Hagan said.

Added Lotzer, “We’re sprinting from the beginning to end of practice. We’re racing each other every day.”

The top performers to date have been Augustyn, Lotzer and senior Brandon Hausfeld. Augustyn is a sprint freestyler, and he gains time each race on the turns.

“He has a fantastic freestyle flip turn,” O’Hagan said. “His details are fantastic.”

Lotzer is a different swimmer in the 100-yard butterfly (56.20 seconds) than he was a year ago.

“His stroke, strength and efficiency have improved by leaps and bounds,” O’Hagan said. “He always chooses the hardest [workout], and he’s a good person for the guys to emulate.”

Senior Brandon Hausfeld is distinguishing himself in the 100 backstroke (56.60), and his butterfly is also developing into an area of strength. What stands out about Hausfeld is his ability to turn coaching into instant execution.

“He’s one of those maybe one in 20 athletes that can visualize what you’re telling them to do and then make the change,” O’Hagan said. “He’s very coachable and he’s [dedicated] in the weight room. He’s [focused] on getting stronger and better.”

Just as the team is developing on schedule, so is the refurbished pool, which is expected to be ready before the start of the next school year.

“That’s making this entire year worth it,” O’Hagan said.

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