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Youth swimming: NWI clubs net 8 golds at summer state finals

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Updated: August 31, 2013 6:36AM



Northwest Indiana swim clubs didn’t quite strike the gold-medal mother lode that they did last spring. But there still some nuggets to be found.

Swimmers from the 13 local teams in the Northwest Indiana Conference raced to 22 individual gold medals in last March’s state championships. That event is held in a 25-yard pool at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis. In the summer state championships, the pool is lengthened to an Olympic-sized 50 meters, which can only be found at the Munster pool in this corner of the state. Whether or not that was a factor, the gold medal count dropped to eight.

“I’ve always thought that swimming is swimming,” said Duneland Aquatics coach Jim Voss, who was coaching in his 60th straight state finals over the past 30 years. “I would love to train in a 50-meter pool, but I’m not going to boo-hoo about not having one.”

It wasn’t until halfway through the meet that Lansing Swim Organization’s Michaela Spears broke the ice with a win in the 10-under 100 backstroke. She followed that up with a win in the 100 breaststroke in the same Saturday afternoon session.

“She’s following in the footsteps of her sisters,” Lansing swim coach Art Czarobski said of older siblings Holly (Lake Central) and Savannah.

Duneland’s Gary Kostbade took home two individual gold medals, setting a meet record in the 13-14 50 freestyle in the process. Kostbade also won the 100 butterfly and swam legs on three record-setting relay squads. Sam Kravitz, Wesley Slaughter and Wesley Selking joined Kostbade on the 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams that smashed the existing meet records.

“These guys train with the high school kids all summer long,” said Voss, whose club feeds Chesterton High School. “They get to see those guys with their national team shirts on and the older kids push them a little bit.”

Other local winners were Lowell’s Anyamarie Goeders with a meet record in the 11-12 50 freestyle, Highland’s Rachel Stange in the 10-under 50 backstroke, Duneland’s Sophie Gill in the 10-under 50 freestyle, and Duneland’s Olivia Kroeger in the 10-under 100 butterfly.

Duneland took third place overall out of the 70 teams competing at the event. Munster finished in fifth place and the Highland Hurricanes, who had gone nearly a decade without a state-qualifying swimmer until just a few years ago, was the next highest local finisher at 17th.



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