INDIANAPOLIS – Neither athlete was overly thrilled with how the season ended Saturday, but both Caden Jenkins and Grant Knight were willing to look at the bigger picture. Both concluded their stellar high school swim careers at the IUPUI Natatorium with Day Two appearances at the IHSAA Boys Swim and Dive Championships.
Jenkins was sitting in great shape after the morning prelims in diving. The NorthWood senior was sitting sixth after the first set of dives, resting 19 points within the top of the charts. But the finals in front of the big crowd was a different story. Jenkins slid down the list with each dive, and eventually clipped the board on his final dive to wind up 16th place overall with a final series of 377.60.
Delta’s Samuel Bennett, who was fourth after prelims and only five points head of Jenkins, would put on a show in the finals and rack up a championship series of 500.10.
“Today altogether was just an off day, which isn’t a good day to have one,” said Jenkins following his afternoon series. “All of my dives weren’t going as they normally do. I didn’t have that competitive edge I normally do. My mentality and thought process was just off. I wasn’t trying to keep up with anybody, my dives just didn’t go well.
“I’ll look at this all as a positive, keeping an open mind about this,” added Jenkins, who made his third trip to State, but his first advancement to the top 16. Jenkins concludes as a two-time Northern Lakes Conference champion and two-time sectional champion.
About two hours later in the breaststroke, Warsaw’s Grant Knight gave it one more go as a high schooler in the consolation round. Knight and Seymour’s Trevor Layne broke out to the front, trading the lead as the two established themselves after 50 yards. Knight held a slight lead in the third leg, but Layne came out of his final turn with a little bit of an edge and broke to the wall ahead of Knight and Northeast Dubois’ Lorenzo Vaiardi at 57.17. Knight was next at 57.43 and Vaiardi at 57.59.
Knight, who placed sixth as a junior in the event, was pretty level headed as he left the deck for the final time as a Tiger.
“I’m happy with where I finished,” offered Knight. “I enjoyed most of the time I was here and think I did pretty well. I had a good race to end my season and that’s how I wanted to go out.”
Knight will continue his swim career with DePauw University in the fall.
“I guess it’s kind of a new start for me. I get to do sort of the same thing from here to there and set up some new goals and go after them.”
Of the area swimmers of note in the championship rounds, Northridge’s Joey Garberick was the closest to a title. Garberick was among a mad dash to the wall in the finals of the breaststroke. The Northridge speedster would set a school record with his 55.03 in the wake of a fourth-place finish. Chesterton’s Andrew Alders emerged from the fracas as champion with a 54.65, clipping prelim leader Kyle Adams of Munster by a touch.
Raider Luke Dibley would put together a solid swim from the outside lane to tie for 10th in the 500 free. Dibley and Samuel Jennings of Greenfield-Central both hit the touch pad at 4:36.79, both chasing Chesterton’s Gabriel Eschbach at 4:36.44.
The Raiders were 10th in the medley relay at 1:34.85 and 15th in the 200 free relay at 1:28.17.
Penn won a surprise championship in the 200 free relay, using four legs under 21 seconds to actually pull away in the final stretch to win at 1:22.60. The team was made up of Joe Radde, Aaron Dies, Joel Cummins and Brock Zuyderwyk.
Concord’s Will Harris was 16th in the 50 free prelims, posting a 21.32 but was four-hundredths from 13th place.
Elkhart Central’s Lucas Byrd showed well in his first state meet as a freshman, timing 1:43.64 in the 200 free and 46.77 in the 100 free, both placing 16th overall.
Carmel ran away with the team championship, scoring 331 points. Munster was second at 183, Chesterton third at 163 and the Joe Keller-led Fishers squad was fourth at 158. Penn was sixth at 136 and Northridge 16th at 39.5.
The Greyhounds set five records on the day, Wyatt Davis lowering the individual medley record with a 1:44.17 and setting the No. 3 national time in the backstroke with his fourth straight state title, a 45.80 clinic. Jake Mitchell also made the 500 freestyle look easy with a record 4:14.68, and while it wasn’t a record, he also won the 200 freestyle going away at 1:34.05, less than a second off the standard. The Carmel medley relay of Mitchell, Davis, Griffin Hadley and Ryan Malicki established the new record with a 1:27.94. Mitchell, Davis, Hadley and Gus Rothrock lowered their own 400 free relay record from last year with a 2:56.36 rocket on Saturday.
Braden Rollins of Boonville was a double champion, taking the 50 free title at 20.20 and 100 free title at 43.84. Fort Wayne Carroll’s Tristan DeWitt claimed the butterfly title at 47.07.