Halfway through the boys sectional swim meet, it seemed like Snider was dominating. The Panthers took second place in the first event, the 200 medley relay, and followed that up by taking first four of the next five individual events.
Except this individual talent was being outdone by Homestead's depth. Despite Snider winning events, Homestead was taking the lead as the Spartans had three swimmers place in the top eight in every event.
This led to Homestead winning its 19th straight sectional championship with 533 points. Carroll took second with 415 points, and Snider finished third with 387.
“When you look at how (Snider) won things, we were right by them when they won it,” Homestead head coach Chad Englehart said. “When we didn't win we were high up there by them. … We had a lot of kids doing very well, we just weren't always necessarily the first one to touch the wall.”
Eventually, Homestead would find the wall first to take complete control of the event. The Spartans went on to win five events, plus a first in diving.
Homestead really got on track in the 500 freestyle. It came just after Snider had won its four events in a row, and Homestead's Cameron Frank, Kurt Gutwein and Logan Pollander took first, second and third.
“I'm very happy how our boys responded to that challenge and got ourselves moving in the right direction and responded with a one-two-three finish in the 500 free,” Englehart said. “Then we won the next few events that put us over the edge, but that got us going.”
Homestead's winners beyond Frank were Benjamin Stone in the 200 freestyle and Seth Johnson in the 100 backstroke. Homestead's 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams also won events, and Kevin Frebel won the 1 meter diving.
Snider's Gabriel Swardson was the only individual two-event winner on the day by winning the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Snider also got wins from Landan Mintch in the 50 freestyle and Brennan Lill in the 100 freestyle.
Carroll won two events on the day, the 200 medley relay and Blaine Nichols in the 100 breaststroke. The Chargers also had Grant Music qualify for state in the 100 breaststroke and Nichols in the 200 individual medley.
For Englehart and other area swimmers, the focus now moves to next weekend's state meet. Preliminaries for state are Friday at 6 p.m. at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis.
“We've only got two boys who have any kind of state experience at all,” Englehart said about his Homestead team. “This will be a very new group with a lot of excitement, a lot of anxiety, lot of enthusiasm. Hopefully have a good week of practice keeping them calm, keeping them focused and understand what's in store for them this weekend.”
Homestead 533 points
Bishop Dwenger 208
Concordia Lutheran 163
South Side 136
North Side 87
Bishop Luers 61
State qualifiers (sectional winners and those that made state standard times):
200 Medley Relay: Carroll's Ryan Huizing, Grant Music, Bradley Trahin, Brian Niebuhr; Snider's Jesse Radike, Landan Mintch, Gabriel Swardson, Brennan Lill; Homestead's Seth Johnson, Thomas Herendeen, Robbie Veenstra, Mark Whitaker
200 Freestyle: Homestead's Benjamin Stone
200 Individual Medley: Swardson; Carroll's Blaine Nichols
50 Freestyle: Mintch
100 Butterfly: Swardson; Veenstra; Whitaker
100 Freestyle: Lill
500 Freestyle: Homestead's Cameron Frank
200 Freestyle Relay: Homestead's Whitaker, Nicholas Gochenour, Cody Craig, Stone; Snider's Lill, Radike, Swardson, Mintch
100 Backstroke: Johnson
100 Breaststroke: Nichols; Music
400 Freestyle Relay: Homestead's Whitaker, Kurt Gutwein, Craig, Stone