HIGHLAND — Lake Central's girls swimming team didn’t want to let the Highland Invitational title go.
The Indians made a point of talking about the prospects of repeating as winners in practice all week. They brought it up again during the pre-meet huddle and reminded one another about their goal during the action itself. Winning meant something.
And by day’s end, the Indians held the trophy in their hands.
“They were really set on defending it,” Lake Central head coach Todd Smolinski said. “To do that, it’s got to be a team effort. Every swimmer, first second and third has got to contribute. That’s what they did. It was a good win for us.”
Lake Central won comfortably with 513 points to Crown Point’s 401 and Munster’s 383. Valparaiso, Highland, Portage and Michigan City followed to round out the remainder of the team standings.
The Highland Invitational could about as good a measuring stick as Lake Central is going to get before the postseason, junior Maggie DePirro said. The Indians will see Crown Point again at the Duneland Athletic Conference and both the Bulldogs and Munster at sectional.
Lake Central swept the three relays and won four individual events. Junior Michaela Spears claimed the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley, sophomore Paige Bakker took the 100 freestyle and DePirro topped the 100 butterfly to highlight a strong outing by the Indians up and down the lineup.
“It was a good showing of who we are as a team,” DePirro said. “We’ve been really tough on the girls this year working on everything from underwaters to how we’re finishing races. It really came through today and everyone came together to win this as a team.”
Highland freshman sets record
Mya Bailey isn’t wasting any time establishing herself as one of the area’s top swimmers.
She set a Highland freshman record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.85 seconds to win the event. She was nearly two seconds faster than the runner-up (Lake Central’s Jourie Wilson) and nearly four seconds quicker than third place (Munster’s Elizabeth Hanas).
Highland head coach Nick Castillo has coached Bailey through youth programs since she was 7 years old and said the high school results are just more of the same and the best is yet to come.
“What scares me in a good way is (telling her) you’re not even rested,” Castillo said. “What are you going to do when you’re rested? You may go for a state championship. Her under waters are just untouchable right now.”
CP’s Artim claims 50 free, runner up in 100 breast
Jordan Artim is lurking.
Crown Point’s junior standout still has cleaning up to do but won the 50 free (24.51) and was second to Spears in the 100 breaststroke. Last season, Artim won sectional championships in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley and went on to finish 16th and 20th at state in each event, respectively.
Artim said Crown Point aimed for a top-three team finish and was pleased with second. She said the event was competitive and that it was helpful to get a look at some of the strongest competition she’ll face again come the postseason.
“The races were close for sure,” she said. “I was pretty happy with how things went. It was good to see where we and some of the other girls are at here in this part of the season and let’s you know what you still need to improve on later.”
Munster puts two divers in the top-four
Munster diving took two of the top-four spots in the 1-meter diving portion of the meet.
Moria Glowacki won the overall with 363.75 points while teammate Carson Kekelik took fourth with 288 points. Valparaiso’s Ashley Young was second with 317.2 points and Lake Central’s Madi Mercer took third with 289.3.