The frustration was setting in for Connor Hoppe.
Despite watching videos and constantly tweaking his stroke, the Golden Valley junior wasn't satisfied with his performance in the pool.
It finally clicked at the right time as Hoppe ended the season with a record-breaking performance at the Sac-Joaquin Section championships.
The swim season was also challenging for Buhach Colony's Noelle Farrar as she worked on a more aggressive approach in her events.
As a result, she set a new Central California Conference 100-yard freestyle record and became the first Thunder female swimmer to qualify for the section finals in two events.
For their efforts, Hoppe and Farrar are the Sun-Star Swimmers of the Year.
Winning in the pool wasn't a problem for Hoppe, but he wasn't happy with his times.
So he continued to work in the pool and did his best to learn from Olympic swimmers.
Hoppe watched videos on YouTube of breaststroke specialists like Brendan Hansen (six-time Olympic medalist), Kevin Cordes (current American record holder in the 100- and 200-yard breastroke) and Cameron van der Burgh (world record holder in the 100-meter breastroke).
Hoppe would take bits and pieces of their strokes and incorporate them into his own.
"I was getting really frustrated," Hoppe said. "I couldn't find the right rhythm. When I started pulling, my hands would get in the way. I kept trying to fix it but nothing was working. When I finally figured it out I was pretty relieved."
Hoppe still wasn't satisfied when he won two individual titles at the CCC championships. He broke the record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 56.45 seconds. His other win came in the 200 individual medley.
"Honestly, it was the day before sections that I started feeling a little faster," Hoppe said. "You can feel when you're going faster in the water. I was pretty happy."
Hoppe went out and broke the section 100 breaststroke record in winning the championship with a time of 54.81. He also finished second in the 50 freestyle.
"It was really cool to break the record," Hoppe said. "It was a great way to cap off the season."
Farrar's season was also a work in progress.
Her coach, Mark Tanzillo, was working with her on going out faster in her events from the start.
"It was very scary," Farrar said. "I thought I was going to die in the beginning. I thought I wouldn't have anything left coming back. It was really hard at first. I started getting stronger and the more and more I did it, it got easier.
"I learned a lot about myself this year."
By the end of the season Farrar was seeing her new approach pay off. She set a CCC record with a time of 53.28 in the 100 freestyle and she also added a conference title in the 100 backstroke.
"It was very unexpected," said Farrar. "I really had no idea how close I was to the record. I touched the wall, looked over and thought that was a pretty good time. Then I hear (Susan) Miller announcing it was a new record and I thought, 'No way.' "
The backstroke is a relatively new event for Farrar. She didn't start swimming it regularly until last year. She ended her high school career with a 10th-place finish in the backstroke at the section meet with a time of 1:01.05 to go along with a 15th-place finish in the 100 freestyle.
"I was very happy with my season," Farrar said. "I continued to progress and get better. It was the first time I qualified for the finals at section in two events. To be the first girl from Buhach Colony to do that feels really good."
Sun-Star All-Area Swimming Teams
Brett Fogelberg, Merced
Josh Fluetsch, Merced
Hans Van Warmerdam, Atwater
Patrick Koenig, Golden Valley
Isaac Santana, Merced
Kesley McCabe, Merced
Alison Miller, Merced
Laurel Carpenter, Merced
Miranda Knobloch, Atwater
Mayra Garcia, Los Banos