Chesterton's top-ranked boys swimming team didn't clinch a state title Friday night, but the Trojans put themselves in fine position for the program's third crown.
Chesterton broke three records in the state prelims at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis and secured seven top seeds for today's state finals. They have an entry in all 11 swimming events.
Junior Aaron Whitaker played a part in each record. He broke older brother Kyle's 2009 state record in the 100-yard fly by .01 hundredths of a second and smashed Andrew Elliott of Penn's 2008 mark in the 100 back by over a second (47.37). He also swam the anchor leg in the record-setting 400 free relay (3:01.05) and helped the 200 medley relay team take the top seed (1:33.07).
"It was pretty exciting; he broke those records and looked really good doing it,"Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said of Aaron's night. "He was just on fire and had an incredible meet from start to finish. We think there's more to come."
Twin brother Ethan Whitaker is the top seed in the 200 free (1:38.77) and seeded second in the 500 free (4:30.98).
Classmate Blake Pieroni looks for a second consecutive title in the 100 free, taking the top spot (44.84). He's also the fastest in the 200 individual medley (1:49.96).
Both swimmers were part of the record relay squad; Pieroni was on the 200 medley relay team and Ethan Whitaker swam the anchor leg on the sixth-seeded 200 free relay team (1:26.21).
Patrick Curley. the final member of the 400 free relay, qualified ninth in 200 IM (1:54.47) and swam in the 200 free relay.
Jack Wallar qualified eighth in the 100 breast (57.25), 15th in the 50 free (21.54) and swam legs on both the 200 medley and free relays.
"We obviously exceeded our expectations and set ourselves up pretty good for (today)," Kinel said. "We still have to get it done, but I think the kids are looking forward to (today)."
Valparaiso's Andrew Antonetti leapfrogged 13 spots in the 200 free, shaving almost three seconds from his qualifying time and taking the third seed (1:40.81). He jumped up six spots to qualify eighth in the 500 free (4:35.27).
Highland's Stephen Castillo entered the prelims with two top-eight berths, but he settled for consolation spots in the 100 free (ninth, 47.06) and 50 free (11th, 21.37).
Coach Ryan Harrington said Castillo got sick three weeks ago and the senior has still not fully recovered.
"Obviously, he would have liked to have made the championship heats," Harrington said of Castillo, who also helped the Trojans qualify 15th in the 200 free relay (1:28.4). "He just hasn't been able to get all of his strength back.
"It's still an accomplishment, and it says a lot about his character."
Munster's Wilson Beckman qualified seventh in the 100 back (51.51) and 12th in the 100 fly (51.49). Joseph Gardner qualified 16th in the 100 breast (58.63).
"It's a great measuring stick for (Beckman), since he's just a sophomore," Munster coach Matt Pavlovich said. "He might be able to go faster.
"It was pretty cool that (Gardner) could squeak in there (for the last qualifying spot). It's nice for both of them to get another chance to swim."
Michigan City's Matthew Quinlan qualified sixth in the 100 breast (57.02) and 15th in the 200 IM (1:55.74).