Bobby Sayre freestyles his way to success


Photo courtesy of Bryan Szweda

The DGS boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay team broke a 26-year-old record, previously set in 1993. (Pictured left to right: Bobby Sayre, Aidan Logan, Jack Kulaga, Thomas Noller)

As his teammate slams his fingertips against the wall, freshman varsity swimmer Bobby Sayre crashes into the water, dolphin-kicking as far as he could before breaking out into freestyle. Using his six years of experience, he kicked himself back to the wall and finished the 200-yard free relay his team had been training for.

That same day, Sayre’s relay team broke the 26-year-old relay record of 1:35.98 by two and a half seconds.

“It felt really good. [Aidan Logan, Jack Kulaga, Thomas Noller and I] were all really excited about it. We were all jumping up and down and just couldn’t stop smiling,” Sayre said.

After three years this was the first record to be broken by the DGS boys’ swimming team. In his 10th year as the head coach for the boys’ swim team, social studies teacher Bryan Szweda first noticed the opportunity to break the fresh/soph relay record when each member of the relay team began to make improvements in their freestyle times.

“It’s something that popped up on our radar mid-season that we might try to do it. It’s hard because two of the guys on the relay were sophomores but had never swum club before high school, so the amount of improvement they made, put it in my mind that, ‘yeah, maybe we can really do that,’ so to have them break that record by as much as they did was a big accomplishment,” Szweda said.

A typical practice entails both aerobic and anaerobic activities as well as tapering toward the end of the season. The team also meets for morning dry land where they run through a specific, intensive circuit three times a week.

Sophomore and fellow relay team member Jack Kulaga has been on the varsity team for two years and, beginning in the fall of 2018, has been practicing with Sayre in both high school and club swimming.

“He’s interesting, to say the least. He is one of the funnier people on the team; he’s usually the one messing around, making us laugh all the time. … He keeps the mood and the team up,” Kulaga said.

Szweda has noticed Sayre’s personality as well, during both morning and afternoon practices.

“Bobby is like a ball of energy; he is bouncing off walls. As swimmers, they do a lot of work, and we do mornings, and typically the swimmers are really tired, but even through that, he is always smiling. … [Even so] he works hard and did a great job; he trains well,” Szweda said.

Sayre aims to swim the entirety of his high school career, hopefully qualifying for the state meet within that the next three years. Although he does not have any scheduled plans, Sayre hopes to continue swimming on a college team.

“I swim to have fun. It is a fun sport, and I have tons of friends I love to be around. … I probably want to swim in college. I am going to swim all four years of high school and then, I don’t know. Whatever happens, happens, but I’ll probably end up swimming somewhere,” Sayre said.

Despite Sayre’s uncertainty about his future swimming career, Kulaga and Szweda both believe Sayre has the potential to break many more records and swim for his future college.

“As long as he puts the effort in outside of season, I think he has a realistic shot of breaking some fresh/soph records next year. I think he’s got a shot at going down and swimming at state at some time during his high school career, which would be a great accomplishment because, in Illinois, if you swim at state, you’re good enough to swim in college, and I think he could potentially do that,” Szweda said.