INDIANAPOLIS | Spending an entire season as competitors didn’t keep region swimmers from cheering for one another at the IHSAA Girls State Swimming Finals on Saturday.
Chesterton, Crown Point and Munster battled each other near the top of the standings while Lake Central delivered several strong relay performances. Carly Jackson (LaPorte) and Jacklyn Smailis (Highland) also represented the Region while swimmers from the other teams gathered around in support.
“I think we were all prepared by swimming in the best sectional of the state,” Munster sophomore Nikki Smith said. “We’ve all swam against each other earlier in the year and it was great to see them all here.”
Carmel again proved to be the dominant team, winning its 27th-straight state title, but Region teams were right next to Carmel on the medal podium for much of the afternoon.
“I think we have an incredible amount of parity in the area right now,” Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said. “The region is real strong and it’s real deep.”
Final Swim: Carly Jackson couldn’t help but get emotional after her final swim for LaPorte. The senior talked of her respect for coach Bart Frank and her bounce-back performance from Friday night after she finished second in the consolation heats in both the 100 fly and 500 freestyle.
“Coach Frank has been such a great coach to swim for and I owe so much to him,” Jackson said. “I’m just happy that I came out today and proved that Friday was a fluke. I struggled last night, but today makes everything better.”
Jackson will continue her career at Eastern Michigan, but the senior can’t believe her time at LaPorte is done.
“I know the water is the same everywhere, but I can’t imagine swimming for another coach,” Jackson said. “I’m thrilled to have four more years to go and I’m very proud of my time here.”
Records Fall: Carmel did it again on Saturday. The Greyhounds won their 27th straight state title, edging runner-up Penn 397-189. In addition to winning another state title, the Greyhounds set three state records in the process.
Carmel’s 200 medley relay team (1:41.17) began the event by shaving .25 seconds off its own state record time from 2011. The 400 freestyle relay team ended the afternoon by taking .85 seconds off the 2009 state record of 3:24.22. In the middle of the event, freshman Claire Adams set the state record in the 100 backstroke (53.40), beating the 2008 mark of Harrison’s Jenny Connolly by .13 seconds.