Expectations. Bullseye. Hunted.
All three words can describe the Chesterton boys swimming and diving team as
the 2012-2013 season gets underway on Saturday.
The top-ranked Trojans will get to experience all three in the opener as No.
3 Northridge invades CHS for a boys-girls meet set to begin at 10 a.m.
“The kids are really excited for the opener against Northridge,” Chesterton
coach Kevin Kinel said. “They are such a good opponent to start with that
we’ll have to be good right out of the gate. One of the reason’s we tried to
get them on the schedule is that the kids need a big meet early or they
start looking to the end of the year.
“Things you do now don’t seem as important if that’s the case. We want them
to have to get ready right now.”
The Trojans return all but one point-scorer from last year’s team that
placed fourth in the IHSAA State Finals. Northridge was third.
“We think we have a legitimate chance to make a run at the State title
again,” Kinel said. “We have a ton of quality and depth coming back. This is
a group that has to have goals, a carrot in front of them. Trying to win a
state championship is certainly one of those.
“We’ll have rough patches where it’s hard to stay focused when we aren’t
swimming great competition, but this first month it’s a lot of big meets
right on through.”
The Chesterton lineup is dominated by a deep, talented junior class that is
no stranger to success.
Blake Pieroni is the defending state champion in the 100 Free, and also
finished second in the 200 Free. Aaron Whitaker was third in both the 100
Fly and the 100 Back. Jack Wallar finished fifth in the 100 Breaststroke.
Also placing individually last year was Ethan Whitaker with an eighth place
finish in the 500 Free and a 13th place performance in the 200 Free.
In relays, the Trojans were second in the 200 Medley, sixth in the 200 Free
and ninth in the 400 Free.
“The juniors are so deep and talented,” Kinel said. “Blake, Aaron, Ethan,
Jack, Patrick Curley, Andy Hurst, Brent Vondra, Jack Kurfman and the list
just goes on and on. Nathan Rodriguez and Anthony Kincaid are other juniors
who have improved so much over the summer that they’ll help.
“There are a lot of kids like that.”
The Trojans should also be strong on the diving board with senior Andrew
Claudio, while sophomore Josh VanNevel will score more points in the pool.
“We have a lot of weapons this year, it’s just a matter of using them
right,” Kinel said. “The beauty of this team is that most of them can swim
anything, so I imagine we’ll be moving around a lot. Not only to win meets,
but to find out what we are best at for the end of the year.”
Kinel believes his squad has looked good in the preseason, but he’ll find
out for sure on Saturday.
“We had a real good summer and I think we’re ready to go,” Kinel said. “All
of our time trials and practice meets so far, I think we’ve looked really
good. The guys are hungry to get started and build on last year’s success.”