CHESTERTON | One fear of Chesterton girls swimming coach Kevin Kinel was realized at Friday night's sectional swimming prelims.
The Times No. 1 Trojans picked up the top seed in eight events to prepare for their 12th-straight crown today, but Kinel thought his team looked pretty sluggish in the process.
The week's blizzard canceled Trojans practices Tuesday through Thursday coupled with the fact that Chesterton entered the prelims as the overwhelming favorite with 10 top seeds.
"The long layoff hurt us," said Kinel, who gave an impassioned speech to his swimmers after the prelims. "On paper it looked like we would do well, so I thought it might be hard to motivate them.
"I was concerned this might happen."
Of Chesterton's top finishers, only top qualifier Maddie Miller in the 100 back (1:00.57) and No. 2 Allison McAloon in the 100 breast (1:11.62) bested their seed times.
"We've got some great girls, so I hope we can turn it around," Kinel said. "We're just going to try to do what we can to get them ready."
The inclement weather moved back the prelims one day, but most coaches weren't upset with the schedule change.
"This is same model as the state meet," Portage coach Greg Mundt said.
Indians junior Sierra King prepped for her second title defense in the 100 breast by taking the top spot with a 1:09.12. It was a little slower than last year's prelim time (1:08.66), but Mundt doesn't think that is a concern.
"She's not fully tapered yet," Mundt said, "so it's not something we are really worried about."
South Central coach Gretchen Klimczak was actually pleased to see the prelims move back a day. Her daughter Tori qualified sixth in the 50 free (25.34) and fourth in the 100 free with a personal-best 54.9. She's .89 hundredths off the state cut time in the 50 free and 1.58 seconds in the 100 free.
"Hopefully when she is shaved, we can have more time drops," coach Klimczak said. "She's a very mental swimmer, and she does a lot of things with her head. Now she has less time to worry about swimming without the day off.
"I don't think the pressure will be on her. She's not swimming for first place, she's more concerned about her time."