Boys swimming: Aaron Whitaker, Blake Pieroni set records as Chesterton dominates at prelims
LAPORTE — A 2½-week layoff seemed to concern Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel on how his team would perform at the LaPorte Sectional preliminaries. The boys responded by securing the top seed in all 11 events in the sectional finals on Saturday.
The Trojans also broke two sectional records, putting a smile on their coach’s face.
“I am very pleased considering the layoff from our last meet, but the boys really stepped it up tonight and performed well top to bottom, setting us up nicely for Saturday,” Kinel said.
The highlights of the evening came when Chesterton’s Aaron Whitaker and Blake Pieroni set sectional records, previously held by Chesterton state champion swimmers. Whitaker’s record came in the 100 butterfly as the junior upended his older brother Kyle’s mark of 49.95 set in 2009 with a 49.74.
Pieroni followed right up in the next event, the 100 freestyle with a time of 45.74 breaking the record of Chesterton’s Seth Barry, set in 2002.
“I came in knowing I had been getting close to the record time, but my focus was simply to perform well and set the tone for the rest of my teammates and I just happened to set a new record,” Whitaker said.
The preliminaries are a challenge to most swimmers as they want to perform well but look forward to better performances and times in the finals.
“It’s a little tough being a long day with school and then coming here in the evening but I know we will be much more prepared on Saturday,” Whitake said. “I am looking forward to it.”
The sectional finals take place on Saturday with the diving finals starting at 9 a.m. and the swimming finals at 1 p.m., with the winners and qualifiers advancing to the state finals next week.