College-decision ceremonies are nothing new for Kevin Kinel, but Tuesday's event stood out in the mind of the veteran Chesterton swimming coach.
Blake Pieroni and Jack Wallar committed to Indiana, while teammate Aaron Whitaker followed older brother Kyle to Michigan.
The Wolverines have 19 NCAA crowns and boast alums like Olympic record-setter Michael Phelps. The Hoosiers have six titles, and former swimmers include Olympic champions Mark Spitz and Gary Hall Jr.
"I've had others sign with Division I schools," said Kinel, who enters his 34th season with the Trojans. "These are big programs; and that's a big difference."
The Chesterton trio has posted some notable achievements. Pieroni has three individual state high school titles, setting the state record in the 100 free last winter. Whitaker has two individual crowns, setting the state record in the 100 fly last winter. All were part of last season's team victory plus a win in the 200 medley relay.
Aaron Whitaker pointed out that the Wolverines weren't an automatic decision.
"Everyone just assumed that I was going to Michigan," said Aaron, who also visited Arizona and Wisconsin. (Wisconsin) made it really hard to decide."
Whitaker admitted that his brother did have some influence on the decision.
"He tried to get me to go there," Aaron said of Kyle, a senior at Michigan who has tied the IHSAA meet record with 12 titles. "He had some of the guys get a hold of me."
Just like in high school, these Whitaker brothers will not compete on the same team, but that didn't sway the decision.
"He's still going to be able to help me out," Aaron said.
Wallar has been thinking about college swimming since he was freshman, and he became more serious last year.
"Everyone was really friendly (at IU)," Wallar said. "I took my official visit ... it was an easy decision."
Pieroni spent less time with the process, and he was impressed with the Hoosiers' coaching staff.
"One of the most (important things) was that (they) presented things that were appropriate toward me with the coaching process," he said. "I delayed (the college decision process) as much as possible, and I didn't want to have to worry about it that long.
Pieroni and Wallar won't have a problem seeing a familiar face, as they remain teammates.
"It helps a lot," Wallar said. "That's a huge deal."
The event almost had a fourth party, Aaron's twin brother Ethan. Ethan and Aaron Whitaker plus Pieroni were part of last year's state-record 400 free relay team.
Ethan has a pending offer from Michigan, but he is looking into swimming for the Naval Academy. His still in the middle of the interview process with the Navy.