Jack Fekete took swimming lessons when he was in elementary school, but he didn't quickly take to the water.
"They would take my summer swim classes," said Wheeler coach Rob Gass of Fekete and his brothers, Kellen and Sam. "All three of them did very well. I kept trying to get them in the swim club, but they never bit on it.
"Eventually we got them."
Kellen swam in his final two years of high school, and youngest brother Sam is a sophomore on the swim team. Jack, a junior, has made giant strides in the pool.
He placed sixth in the 50-yard free (23.44) and 10th in the 100 free (53.95) at last year's LaPorte Sectional. Already, his best times this season — 50 free (22.81) and 100 free (50.89) — are faster.
"I realized that if I put a lot more work into it and joined age group," Fekete said, "I would have a shot at being pretty good."
Gass also coached 2008 50 free state champ Vic Sikorski, the program's lone titlist. Gass won't draw a comparison yet, but he believes Fekete has a chance to advance to state this year in that event.
"He's a swimmer now; he's got the mentality," Gass said of Fekete. "I told him that he's not just someone who joined the team.
"He's ahead of his sectional times. He's knocking on that door (to state)."
Fekete was just another face in the pool when he joined the Bearcats as a freshman. He struggled in his first prep season, and also had a difference of opinion with Gass at a meet against Griffith.
"I wanted him to swim in the 200 individual medley," Gass recalled. "He refused to do it, and he ended up not swimming the event."
Fekete said his decision wasn't rooted in insubordination. Instead, he wasn't confident in his abilities.
"When I started out, I didn't know a whole lot about (swimming)," Fekete said. "I was pretty intimidated every meet as a freshman. ... Everybody was doing better than me, and I didn't want to be there."
Then the light came on a season later.
"I dropped time from sectionals at my first meet," Fekete said. "I thought I maybe had a chance to do better at sectional."
Now with his 6-foot-2 size and the proper mindset, Fekete continues to set goals and break them.
One of the first tests comes Saturday at the Greater South Shore Conference meet. He was third in the 50 free (24.48) and fourth in the 100 free (54.91) last season.
"I'm focusing on swimming year-round now," said Fekete, who now does a morning training session five days a week. "It's pushed me to be a lot better. I think it's definitely stuck."