Boys swimming | State finals

Chesterton's Pieroni wins 100 free, Trojans finish fourth overall

2012-02-25T23:45:00Z 2012-02-27T00:35:19Z Chesterton's Pieroni wins 100 free, Trojans finish fourth overallBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com
February 25, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Blake Pieroni doesn't have to guess what it would be like to a be state champion any more.

After finishing second in the state in the 200-yard freestyle the past two seasons and coming up just short in Saturday's 200 medley relay, the Chesterton sophomore won the 100 free crown.

"It felt amazing to finally win," said Pieroni, who finished in 44.85. "I had a tough turnaround in the (200 medley to the 200 free), but I thought I could it in the 100."

Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel was pleased with Pieroni's progression.

"It takes a special athlete to step up under pressure like that," Kinel said. "He did a great job."

But Pieroni was hardly basking in the glow of that win. For the second consecutive season, the Trojans finished fourth as a team (175.5 points). Carmel repeated as champions, edging Bloomington South 246.5-245.

"I'm still not satisfied with fourth," he said. "It's definitely something for us to shoot for next year."

Classmate Aaron Whitaker picked up third-place finishes in the 100 fly (49.62) and 100 back (50.48). Whitaker's time in the back broke older brother and 2009 graduate Kyle's school record in the event.

Jack Wallar led for the first half of the 100 breast and finished tied for fifth (57.27).

"He did what he had to do," Kinel said of Wallar. "He had to go out there and be the rabbit."

Ethan Whitaker, Aaron's twin brother, placed eighth in the 500 free (4:38.95) and he was 13th in the 200 free (1:43.29).

Also, the 200 free relay team was sixth (1:25.98) and the 400 free was ninth (3:11.77).

"I thought we showed a lot of poise," Kinel said. "Nothing takes the place of experience. This is just something they have to go through."

Valparaiso senior Dion Low capped his career with a pair of top-eight finishes. Low was fourth in the 200 individual medley (1:52.76) and seventh in the 100 breast (57.47).

Low led after three legs of the IM, but he was unable to hold his lead.

"We know freestyle (the final leg) is Dion's weakest leg, so he had to put himself in a position to win," Valparaiso coach Adam Nellessen said of Low. "That's all you can ask."

"I had to go out and compete," Low added. "I went out and did just that."

Sophomore Andrew Antonetti placed fourth in the 500 free (4:35.65) and 11th in the 200 free (1:43.02).

"He didn't swim last year, so he's kind of like a freshman," Nellessen said of Antonetti. "I'm just happy to see how much he's improved.

"He's going to be a force in the state the next two years. I really believe it."

The 400 free relay team placed 13th (3:17.92), and the Vikings finished 11th as a team (73 points).

"I'm proud of what we're able to do," Low said. "We moved up a lot of spots."

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