It wasn't exactly the type of first Homestead boys swimming coach Chad Englehart was hoping for Friday night. With three relay teams and individuals in five different swimming events, Englehart and his team were hoping to improve upon the 15th place finish last year.
Instead, not a single Spartan finished in the top 16, and Englehart won't be watching a single Homestead swimmer in the Saturday finals for the first time since he began coaching 18 years ago. The one Spartan still competing is Kevin Frebel in the diving competition.
“It's a whole new experience as a coach,” Englehart said. “We are going to regroup and we have 365 days to prepare as a group before we have to tear it up next year.”
The disappointment for Homestead swimmers may have been foreseen when an arm injury hit sophomore Mark Whitaker. He was a member of all three relay teams and also qualified individually in the 100 butterfly.
“We weren't a good enough, deep enough, strong enough team to handle that kind of significant loss at this level, but I thought the kids fought valiantly and hard and we did just about everything we could do,” Englehart said.
Homestead may not have anyone swimming tomorrow, but other area teams got multiple swimmers through to Saturday.
Carroll's Grant Music was the only area swimmer to make it into the 'A' final by finishing in the top 8 in preliminaries in the 100 breaststroke. His teammate Blaine Nichols qualified in the 'B' final for the 9-16 finishers in the 100 breaststroke as well, and both will be swimming for Carroll's 200 medley relay in the 'B' final.
Nichols also qualified in the 200 individual medley, where he is joined by Snider's Gabriel Swardson. The Panthers' Brennan Lill qualified in the 100 freestyle, Swardson finished ninth in the 100 butterfly and their 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams both qualified.
“I think there are a lot of boys coming back next year that they could do some outstanding things,” Englehart said about Fort Wayne swimming in general. “I wouldn't say area swimming is in trouble, but area swimming definitely has to take advantage and see what is out there to step-up.”
Area results (top 8 make 'A' final, next 8 make 'B' final):
200 Medley Relay: Carroll's Ryan Huizing, Grant Music, Bradley Trahin, Brian Niebuhr 9th place; Snider's Jesse Radike, Landan Mintch, Gabriel Swardson, Brennan Lill 13th; Homestead's Seth Johnson, Thomas Herendeen, Robbie Veenstra, Mark Whitaker 20th; Warsaw's Jayden Parrett, Spencer Davidson, Caleb Snyder, Matthew Wildman 24th
200 Freestyle: Homestead's Benjamin Stone 17th; Jay County's James Keen 25th
200 Individual Medley: Swardson 11th; Blaine Nichols 14th; Warsaw's Zach Taylor 32nd
50 Freestyle: Mintch 18th; Parrett 31st
100 Butterfly: Swardson 9th; Veenstra 21st; Davidson 30th
100 Freestyle: Lill 16th; Homestead's Cody Craig 30th
500 Freestyle: Homestead's Cameron Frank 25th; Bluffton's Jason Prible 32nd
200 Freestyle Relay: Lill, Radike, Swardson, Mintch 14th; Trahin, Music, Huizing, Niebuhr 17th; Homestead's Stone, Nicholas Gochenour, Nicholas Rittenhouse, Craig 22nd
100 Backstroke: Parrett 13th; Johnson 17th; Keen 29th; Lill 30th
100 Breaststroke: Music 5th; Nichols 9th; Davidson 20th; Wawasee's Zac Hershberger
400 Freestyle Relay: Homestead's Stone, Kurt Gutwein, Frank, Craig 27th; Jay County's Josh Lykins, Sok Vormohr, Cody White, Keen 31st; Warsaw's Parrett, John David French, Andrew Thrasher, Davidson Disqualified