By KEN PETERSON
INDIANAPOLIS - The sign of a championship athlete is the ability to bounce
back when things don’t go as planned.
Chesterton’s Seth Barry was faced with that scenario early Saturday
Ben Dexter of Indianapolis Roncalli edged Barry in the 50 Free. Dexter
finished in 20.47 while Barry was second in 20.50.
“I had no idea where he was at any time because he was on my left,” Barry
said. “It was a three-hundredths of a second race. We both swam fast and he
just touched me out. There was nothing to be disappointed about. I couldn’t
see him the whole race. He took it out faster than I did.
“I apparently was gaining on him and coming back, but the 50 is such a short
race and everything has got to be perfect.”
Barry had three other events to compete in, so any time he wanted to feel
upset he had to put in the back of his mind.
“I had to take my disappointment and focus into my next event,” he said. “I
had four events today. The 100 I had to come back for and I still had to be
in this meet for the rest of my team for the two relays that I was on.”
Barry rose to the occasion in the 100 Free against Dexter. This time, Barry
won in 45.36 while Dexter finished second 45.40.
“Ben Dexter we knew would be there and he has been a force every year,”
Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said. “When Seth got touched out in the 50, it
was disappointing. But we all knew that the 100 was his best race. Plus
(Friday) night, he went head-to-head with Dexter and beat him. It is ironic,
though, that in the 50 Seth was playing catch-up and coming on and just got
“And in the 100, it was the other way around. Seth had the lead and Dexter
was coming on and Seth did touch him out. What an effort.”
After focusing on his individual goals of trying to win a state title, Barry
had to turn around and swim the 200 and 400 free relays. The Trojans
finished second in the 200 Relay third in the 400 as Barry helped the 400
team overcome seventh place going into Barry’s leg - the final leg - and
finish third. Barry swam the last leg of the race in 44.66.
“We knew that all we had to do is stay within a couple of seconds and nobody
has an anchor like him,” Kinel said. “But I have to give credit to the other
guys on the relays, too.”
“Relays are kind of a different story,” he said. “You’re in it with the
team. It’s not just for yourself.”
In a sport where most kids start at a very young age developing skills
needed to be successful, Barry took to the sport almost by accident.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” he said. “At no point when I joined competitive
swimming did I have any intention of competing. I just wanted to swim more.
It had been a couple of years since I finished swim lessons. I wanted to get
back into the water. Coach signed me up for a meet and it kept happening.
“What’s great about swimming is you can show lots of improvement in a short
amount of time and it keeps you motivated. They make lots of drops and keeps
them motivated to come back next year and keep working hard. If you hit a
wall, you’ve got to keep working at it.”
And for all the individual success that Barry has had, he always reminds
everyone around him that the 2001-2002 swim team was not “The Seth Barry
Show.” It was the Chesterton High School swim team.
“No one comes down here as an individual and gets a fifth in the state,” he
said. “We graduated two Junior National level seniors last year and as a
team we knew that we had to pull together and everyone had to pick up the
slack. Everyone stepped up this year and did their part to have another
undefeated regular season again, repeat sectional and conference and get
down to state and make something happen.”
Kinel was proud of the effort from Barry, considering the attention given to
“He’s got a ton of talent, but more importantly, he’s got a lot of focus and
drive,” he said. “And to get a kid like that that’s willing to put in the
time and the effort and is as intelligent as he is, as a coach that doesn’t
come around that often. The fact that he started late is a good thing
because it’s fresh in his mind. And I think he’s going to go on and have a
really good collegiate career.
“He’s enjoying this and he’s nowhere peaked to where he can go. And I think
he’s going to have a great collegiate career. Seth is going to get all the
headlines, but this was a total team effort.”