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By Matt Cuartero

On any level and for any sport, going to compete at a State meet or game is intense, to say the least. There are 247 teams going down, and another 54 individuals raring to compete at the 2015 IHSA Boys Swim Meet. Batavia freshman Garrett Clasen is the only individual representing the Batavia/West Chicago boys’ swim team.

“My strongest event is the 200 Individual Medley (IM),” Clasen said. “Going into state I am ranked 11th in that event. I am also competing in the 100 Breaststroke which I am ranked 15th in.”

Garrett Clasen is new to Batavia’s co-op swim team, but like many athletes, and similarly to all successful swimmers, his strength and experience has come from a very young age.

“I started swimming when I was 7 years old,” Clasen said. “Every day during practice I would see the records on the record board above me and it made me want to get them. Every single freshman record was broken this season but the 50 Freestyle. The 100 Butterfly was broken by Ryan Sego and the 200 Freestyle was broken by Tyler Cook.”

All distinguished swimmers put a lot of dedication into swimming. Whether it is waking up at five in the morning to go swim at the pool, or have conditioning day after day, Garrett is no exception. The IHSA State swim meet is one of the toughest in the nation. Garrett has a great attitude about competing and his mental game is as strong as any seasoned athlete.

“The state meet is the craziest meet of the whole season,” Clasen said. “Every qualifier from around Illinois comes to one tiny pool to compete. It gets extremely crowded and loud in the pool which creates a crazy atmosphere. My coach and I are very confident that I will make top 12 in the 200 IM. That guarantees me another chance to swim that race again on Saturday. Going into the state meet, I am ranked 11th in the 200 IM (third out of freshman) and 15th in the 100 Breaststroke (second out of freshman).”

Both Garrett’s experience and mentality have made him into a very strong athlete. Many members of the team admire his experience and even note that he is almost like a second coach. Garrett’s hard work and innate ability to swim illuminates his future to be a strong and successful athlete.

“I have no doubt that Garrett will qualify for the Olympics in 2020,” said senior Noah Randall. “The only reason he wouldn’t be competing in the 2016 Olympics is because he wouldn’t be old enough.”

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