Area swimmers swim well, but fall short of goals Carroll, Snider swimmers don’t win titles, but swim fast.

The great thing about a swim team being coached by a guy like Carroll’s John Gibson is that expectations are set really high.

The bad thing about a swim team being coached by a guy like Carroll’s John Gibson is that expectations are set really high.

The Chargers had visions of a possible state championship from senior Jackson Kent, as well as an improvement on last season’s program-best fifth place finish, floating in their minds at the IHSAA Boys State Swim Finals at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis this past weekend, but neither of those goals were met. However, the meet was far from a failure on the part of any of the Fort Wayne-area swimmers.

“We fell short in a couple of races that we wanted to,” Gibson told The News-Sentinel. “I’m not sure why. Physically, we should’ve been there. We were just a little bit off.”

Kent swam his way to a pair of fourth-place finishes in both the 200 IM and 100 fly, and the lack of a potent 400 free relay in the meet’s final event prevented Carroll’s goal of moving up in the team standings (it finished seventh overall), but the truth of the matter is, the Charger swimmers swam well over the weekend and that was evident from the first race of Saturday’s finals.

After winning the South Side Sectional in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:33.30, the Charger foursome of Noah Yarian, Parker Bull, Kent, and Tristan DeWitt swam a 1:32.78 in Saturday’s State Finals and took third place.

Kent wanted a state title in the 200 IM race, and his disappointment as he stood up on the medal stand was nearly palpable, but he closed his career swimming faster at state (1:50.16 in the prelims) than he had at sectional (1:51.48).

“It was hard to pin-point,” Gibson said of how Kent could have swum a better race. “You have to put (all the strokes) together at the same time. His back and breast (legs) were off a little bit. His fly and free were better, so he kind of lost a little bit on those two legs.”

Each of the past two seasons, a Fort Wayne swimmer (Snider’s Gabe Swardson and Carroll’s Ryan Huizing) had won the 100 fly race, and Kent had a legitimate shot entering Saturday’s finals. However, he took the race out slower than the leaders and ultimately finished fourth. But again, his prelim time of 49.53 and finals time of 49.72 were improvements on his sectional winning time of 50.00.

“His third turn he floated in,” Gibson explained, “and he lost some momentum. That makes it hard, you have to regenerate that speed then.”

Snider senior Jacob Steele had a great opportunity at winning the 100 back race, but the Indiana University recruit took his race out just a tad slow and couldn’t catch the eventual winner (Carmel freshman Wyatt Davis).

“It definitely felt a lot better,” Steele said of his finals swim as compared to his prelims.

In Friday’s prelims, he swam a 49.90 and improved that to a 49.37 in the finals. However, both swims were slower than his sectional-winning time of 49.18.

“I didn’t go my best time,” Steele said. “But it was right there.”

Carroll scored 128 points, but a solid relay in that last race could have made a significant difference. Even a last-place (eighth) finish in the finals of the 400 free relay would have lifted the Chargers to a fourth-place finish, so that will be the focus for 2017, according to Gibson.

“Hopefully, we can keep developing some of the younger kids,” Gibson said. “We need some freestyle sprinters to really help our relays.”

Gibson returns most of his state qualifiers with the exception of Kent and classmate Parker Bull.

Homestead led the area teams with a sixth-place finish (140 points), while Snider placed 19th (25).

Other area state finalists included:

200 medley relay: Homestead (Trey Cooley, Bryce Warner, Chase Chastain, Riley Anderson, sixth, 1:34.40).

200 free: Julian Norman (Homestead, fourth, 1:40.96); Noah Dalton (Homestead, 13th, 1:43.82).

200 IM: Steele (ninth, 1:52.29); Warner (10th, 1:52.51); DeWitt (15th, 1:56.15).

50 free: Anderson (11th, 21.30); Scott Hodson (Homestead, 15th, 21.54).

Diving: Jarrett Miller (Homestead (24th, 155.30 points).

100 fly: Yarian (11th, 51.37); Tim Cater (Carroll, 12th, 51.41).

100 free: Hodson (10th, 47.09); Dalton (11th, 47.43).

500 free: Norman (eighth, 4:38.42); Jack McCurdy (Carroll, 14th, 4:40.96).

200 free relay: Homestead (Norman, Hodson, Anderson, Dalton, third, 1:25.53); Carroll (DeWitt, Carson Bull, Parker Bull, Kent, fourth, 1:25.58).

100 back: Yarian (fourth, 50.18).

100 breast: Parker Bull (13th, 58.58); DeWitt (16th, 59.54).

400 free relay: Homestead (Norman, Hodson, Warner, Dalton, seventh, 3:08.40).