Boys swimming: Blake Pieroni, Aaron Whitaker lead Chesterton to third state title
By Dennis Churilla Post-Tribune correspondent February 23, 2013 4:02PM
Chesterton High School's Jack Wallar, left, and Blake Pieroni watch as their 200 Yard Medley Relay team wins the event. The team took first place with a time of 1:33.07. Swimmers from around the state competed Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in the 2013 IHSAA Boys' Swimming/Diving Championship at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis. | Doug McSchooler~for the Post-Tribune
Updated: February 23, 2013 11:02PM
INDIANAPOLIS — After a three-year hiatus, the boys state swimming title is returning to Chesterton.
The Trojans beat runner-up Indianapolis North Central 238.5-203.5 to bring back the trophy they had last won in 2009 after also winning the title the previous season.
Those ’08 and ’09 squads rode the dominant back of current University of Michigan swimmer Kyle Whitaker. This time, it was Whitaker’s younger brother Aaron who combined with Blake Pieroni to place first in six different individual events.
“We had such spectacular preliminaries last night to put us in this position,” Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said. “These kids have worked awfully hard and it’s very rewarding to see them do so well.”
In Friday night’s preliminaries, Aaron Whitaker broke two individual records and was a member of the 400 freestyle relay team that set a third record. Whitaker was at it again on Saturday, lowering his own 100 butterfly mark to 47.33.
Whitaker’s Friday swim of 47.84 was just under the state record of 47.85 set by his older brother Kyle back in 2009. Whitaker then lowered the state mark he set in the 100 backstroke Friday night to 47.29 on Saturday.
Pieroni joined in on the act, setting a state record in the 100 freestyle, in which he was the defending state champ. Pieroni also captured the 200 individual medley title and joined Whitaker on the Trojans’ winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
“(Aaron and Blake) have just been awesome,” Kinel said. “They’ve been our stalwarts all year.”
Even more exciting for Chesterton is that Pieroni, Whitaker, and his twin brother Ethan are all juniors. With fellow Trojans juniors Jack Waller, Patrick Curley, Jack Kurfman and Andy Hurst, all of whom medaled Saturday, it would appear that the Trojans are in great position to go back-to-back again next season.
“We’re just going to enjoy this one today,” said Kinel, who also earned the state coach of the year honor.
The Trojans’ 35-point margin of victory was less than the 39 points by which they defeated Indianapolis North Central, Munster and Carmel in 2009, but it was a bigger cushion than in 2008, when they narrowly defeated Hamilton Southeastern 271-266.