LAPORTE | Thursday's LaPorte Sectional prelims proved to be an impressive debut for Chesterton's freshmen swimmers.
Six different first-year Trojans qualified for the finals in their respective events. Blake Pieroni earned the top spot for Saturday's finals in both the 200-yard free (1:46.17) and 500 free (4:49.67).
"There were a little nerves, but it was also pretty much what I expected," said Pieroni, whose goals were 1:45.9 in the 200 and 4:50. "The older swimmers helped prepare us for this, and that took some pressure off. I feel like I'm ready for (the finals)."
Classmate Aaron Whitaker captured the top position in the 100 fly (52.47), besting the state-cut time by .34 seconds.
Also, senior Tyler Fozkos began defense of his 50 and 100 free crowns, earning the top times in 22.28 and 48.69, respectively.
Chesterton also took the top spot in the 200 medley and 400 free relay.
The Trojans put themselves in prime position for a 13th-straight crown by earning three spots in the finals of six events, including the top three positions in the 200 free.
"The kids that had to swim fast, did that for us," Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said. "We're trying to get as many kids as we can down to state. I think we put ourselves in a good position."
Valparaiso junior Dion Low is also in a good spot, taking the top seed in the 200 individual medley (1:56.71) and earning the second position in the 100 breast (1:57.1). Both times are under the state cut.
"He's intense," Valparaiso coach Zach Hall said of Low. "He's very focused on what he needs to do, and now he's in great shape."
Senior Matt Cain was also impressive for the Vikings, earning the second spot in the 100 back (54.76) and 500 free (4:57.73). Cain trimmed over 12 seconds off his seed time.
These efforts give Hall a chance to sleep better at night.
"I don't sleep well at all the week leading up to the prelims," Cain said. "I definitely feel a lot better now."