Boys swimming: Chesterton cruises to another DAC Meet crown
LaPORTE — Looking at the depth, the continuation of success and the tradition of one of the state’s strongest programs, it’s easy to sum up Chesterton’s winning ways in one word: Motivation.
Saturday’s task for the top team in the Duneland Conference was to bring home another in a long list of victories in the conference meet. And in sailing away with 11 of 12 firsts and mixing in other strong placements, the boys won a 17th straight crown with a resounding 536 points.
Crown Point and Valparaiso battled it out in a 347-339 CP advantage for second place.
“I try to use motivation to try to win at that,” Trojans’ coach Kevin Kinel said of the competitive nature of the Duneland. “We thought we would be close to some conference records so we used that.”
Chesterton’s junior class has been an area-wide threat for the past three seasons and counting. This latest example included brothers Aaron (100 fly in 48.68) and Ethan Whitaker (500 free in 4:40.85) each grabbing a conference record, as well as teammate Jack Waller (100 breast in 57.63). Reigning state champion diver, LaPorte’s Josh Arndt, had another DAC record (608 points) to earn meet MVP.
Even with plenty of winning swimmers, though, Kinel pointed to the importance of that deep-seeded roster. It also didn’t hurt facing Munster in a heated duel this past week.
“We were really impressed with how well we swam on Thursday (against Munster), so we just tried to get a little bit of emotion today,” he said. “You can’t win this meet with just front runners. You have to be three deep.”
Saturday marked a special moment for a particular Chesterton junior, Patrick Curley. He was part of four firsts and won his first individual conference race. The upperclassmen contributed to the 200 free and 200 medley relays and won the 200 IM and the 100 free.
“I was just trying to stick to what my coaches told us all season and finish every race as hard as we could,” he said.
In the battle for second, it took a team effort for the Bulldogs to persevere. In the final event, the 400 free relay, the third-place time of 3:23.63 gave them the win.
“We came together in numbers,” CP coach Doug Norris said.
Arndt pulled ahead on a strong reverse 2½ dive and powered away with his front 2½.
“We’re looking down the road, this a good thing for him. ... I think everyone is surprised,” said Slicers’ diving coach Mel Kovenz.