When it comes to filling out Jack Wallar's goal sheet, the Chesterton boys swimming staff might be better off using a pencil.
"He's just gone nuts in the breaststroke this season," Trojans coach Kevin Kinel said of Wallar. "To be honest, we've had to change his goal sheet. We have to keep re-evaluating him."
Wallar placed 20th in the 100-yard breast stroke at last year's state meet (59.69), and he's already bested that mark -- by close to two seconds -- this season.
At the highly competitive Homestead Invitational on Dec. 10, Wallar won the event in a personal-best 57.89 -- the third-fastest time in the state this season. He defeated Northridge's Brennen Berger, who owns the fourth-quickest time in the state, and Homestead's Jacob Cook, who owns the eighth-fastest time.
Wallar said he intensified his off-season regimen, including work with a personal trainer, but this effort was somewhat unexpected.
"It was a huge surprise for me," Wallar said. "I was really super excited with what I was able to do. I couldn't believe I achieved this so early in the season.
"I feel like I might be able to go even faster."
Wallar is pushed in his own pool with impressive classmates like Blake Pieroni and Aaron Whitaker, who own the state's quickest times this season in the 200 free and 100 fly, respectively.
"Jack is really coming into his own, maturing and understanding that it takes hard work," Kinel said. "These guys have some really high goals. They push one another, and it snowballs."
Another source of motivation for Wallar will be this Saturday's Duneland Athletic Conference meet. Wallar doesn't expect to cruise in his pet event, especially with Valparaiso's Dion Low probably assuming a lane close to the sophomore for the final. Low's 58.86 is the sixth-quickest.
"You always have to be on your toes," Wallar said. "You expect the unexpected, and I never go easy on anybody.
"I just want to win, so I like having someone push me. That gives me a sense of pride if I get the victory."
These two past months also give Kinel a reason to believe more good things will happen to Wallar.
"He's kind of fun to watch," Kinel said. "The light bulb came on at Homestead. ... Those early successes definitely have him thinking and successes at the end of the year (state meet)."