Encore. By definition, again; once more.
That’s the plan for the No. 1 ranked and defending state champion Chesterton
High School Boys Swimming and Diving team as the season gets started on
Saturday at No. 8 Northridge.
“No doubt about it, that’s the goal,” CHS head coach Kevin Kinel said. “With
the group we were going to have back after last year’s state meet, the
biggest thing on my mind was trying to avoid complacency.”
Not an easy task after the Trojans won six events (4 individual, 2 relays)
at last year’s State Finals where they amassed 238.5 points and won for the
third time in six years.
“We had a good summer and there really isn’t a day that goes by that we
don’t talk about it,” Kinel said. “We know other teams are coming to get us.
We have to find a way to keep pushing on. We’re trying to put more than just
a state title in front of them as carrots.
“We want to re-break state records and maybe take a shot at some national
Aaron Whitaker set state records in winning the 100 Fly and the 100 Back
last year, while Blake Pieroni set a record in the 100 Free. Pieroni also
won the 200 IM.
The duo also teamed with Ethan Whitaker, Jack Wallar and Patrick Curley in
different relays to win state titles.
“It helps that we’ve been through it before,” Kinel said of trying to
repeat. “You kind of understand the pitfalls a little more. But,
realistically, the program is the program. We don’t change things whether we
are trying to win a conference title or a state title.
“The program is set up for individual improvement and if they do that, the
success will come.”
The Trojans’ depth should also be at an all-time high as seniors Andy Hurst,
Tony Kincaid, Jack Kurfman and Nate Rodriguez are more than capable of
“Tony Kincaid has been waiting in the wings,” Kinel said. “Nate Rodriguez
has come so far and I think he’ll make an impact. Jack Kurfman is a kid we
can count on too. They are so tired of practicing, they are really anxious
to race. We have some good strong meets right away to get us going, with
some easier competition mixed in to move some kids around.
“It was a long preseason, but once the meets start coming, they come quick.”
Junior Josh VanNevel will be relied on as will classmate Ryan Cooper on the
“Josh had huge drops last year,” Kinel said. “Ryan has a chance to be pretty
good for us on the diving board as well.”
And, as if that wasn’t enough, here comes a freshman class that features
Gary Kostbade, Wes Slaughter, Andrew Gillen, Sam Kravitz and Wes Selking.
“Gary Kostbade is in that realm with those kids like Aaron, Ethan, Blake and
Jack and can score some points at the State Meet. He’s a good one,” Kinel
said. “Wes Slaughter is showing big signs of improvement quickly.”