INDIANAPOLIS | Adam Johnston never pictured himself being on the top step of the podium, which makes his victory Saturday in the 50-yard freestyle IHSAA swimming and diving finals even more gratifying for the Highland senior.
"It's definitely amazing," said Johnston, who won the event at the IU Natatorium in 20.79 seconds. "I never imagined getting to this level, and that makes the whole thing even better."
Johnston is second champion in the school's boys swimming history. Matt Gouwens won the 100 breast in 1998.
"Adam was phenomenal," Highland coach Ryan Harrington said of Johnston's win. "It was a goal, but really become realistic the last three weeks."
This achievement was just emblematic of Johnston's progression from a freshman who didn't make the sectional finals in the 50 free.
"We didn't see this when Adam started with is," Harrington said. "He's grown so much in four years."
Johnston was also sixth in the 100 free (46.3), and helped the 400 free relay team place 12th (3:14.24).
Junior teammate Stephen Castillo placed ninth in the 50 free (21.17).
"He had a great day," Harrington said. "He stepped up."
Highland's 200 free relay team was seventh (1:26.43).
Carmel edged Bloomington South 246.5-245 for the team crown. The Trojans placed 10th with 75.5 points.
"That was our team goal," Harrington said. "This was a great experience for the team. This is something (the younger swimmers) can feed off."
Crown Point senior Mike Kukurugya placed 16th in the 100 back (53.69), while the 200 medley team placed 12th (1:38.02).
"It was a good way to end for our seniors," Bulldogs coach Doug Norris said. "We brought down nine (entrants) for the prelims, and that will help us for next year."
Munster's James Beckman finished 14th in the 100 back (53.11).