Less than a month after predicting Chesterton would win the program's third boys swimming state title, I don't mind jumping ahead of myself again.
This is the best team in the program's history.
The Trojans enter Friday's prelims with five top seeds. They have at least one top-eight seed in nine of the 11 swimming events. They have two top-eight seeds in the 200 individual medley: Blake Perioni (second) and Patrick Curley (sixth).
I believe this squad stacks up as well or better than the prior two state championship teams. Both teams featured Kyle Whitaker, whose 12 event state titles is tied for first in meet history with Carmel's Jason Lancaster. The 2008 team won five events and they entered the finals with six top seeds. Whitaker and Albert Miller finished first and third respectively, in the 200 IM. A year later, the Trojans had six wins and seven top seeds.
This year's squad has a program-first three individuals with top seeds heading into the prelims: juniors Aaron Whitaker (100 free and back), Pieroni (100 free) and Ethan Whitaker (200 free).
"That speaks volumes for the qualifications of this team to have several kids with top seeds," Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said. "We need that."
Add in fellow juniors Jack Wallar, who's seeded sixth in the 100 breast, Curley and Tony Kincaid, seeded 28th in the 100 fly, and this team might be more talented top to bottom than any other.
Also, Chesterton swam these times in less than ideal conditions at LaPorte. The pool isn't as deep as others in the area, like the Trojans' home site, so they swam in slower conditions.
Members of this squad still own six sectional records, breaking five marks previously held by members of the two state title teams.
Friday's state finals prelims are at the IUPUI Natatorium.
"We're going to one of the fastest pools in the world," Kinel said. "That should help us."
Even with the quicker conditions, Kinel isn't as eager to anoint this group.
"The whole state is going to fly," Kinel said. "We have to be ready to perform at the highest level. At this point, they better know this."
The Trojans placed fourth a season ago, and I remember Pieoni was one swimmer who was left quite unsatisfied.
"I'm still not satisfied with fourth," he said. "It's definitely something for us to shoot for next year."
And that's what they'll be doing this weekend. The Trojans might even be better next season with the inclusion of age-group phenom Gary Kostbade and others.
Saturday could be the start of another two-year reign for the Trojans.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.