Swimming toward a Sectional title

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The team cheers before the meet begins. They placed 2nd at Sectionals out of 17 teams.

Tori Wilkes

On Saturday, Feb. 24, 17 swim teams competed head-to-head in the fight for a Sectional title at Lake Central’s Aquatic Center.

The long practices and intense schedule proved to pay off for the team because they were awarded second place, right behind the Munster Mustangs.

“I think as a team we did fantastic. We really have come together this season, and we had a lot of guys step up at Sectionals,” Matt Applegate (12) said.

Their placement among the other teams was not the only positive aspect of the competition.

“The crowd is the best part of Sectionals. Everyone is screaming for you when you jump into the water and when you walk out,” Gavin Baisa (10) said.

Five events from Sectionals placed high enough to go to the State level. The swimmers that will be competing include Joshua Barajas (12), Connor Homans (12), Gavin Baisa (10) and Ryan Kilinski (10).

Barajas also achieved a personal and team best by breaking two of Mr. Todd Smolinski’s, Social Studies, records that he set when he was a swimmer for Lake Central.

“[Beating two of Mr. Smolinski’s records] was one of the best feelings I’ve had in swimming. It was a goal of mine ever since freshman year to break his records. I remember asking him to race my freshman year, and he pointed at the record board and told me ‘the record’s up there, so it just felt great to beat him. [Mr. Smolinski]  was proud of me, but I could definitely tell it was a bittersweet feeling for him,” Barajas said.

Although Sectionals was successful, the team is still anxious about competing at State.

“[I’m feeling] nervous and excited [about State]. This is the first year I’ve been ranked in the Top 8, so I’m hoping to hold my spots and come home with a medal,” Barajas said.

Being a senior this year, this will be Barajas’ last time competing at State.

“I’m swimming at IUPUI next year. I’m really going to miss my coach and my teammates. I’ve been swimming with all these guys and this coach my whole life, and it’s going to be a tough goodbye,” Barajas said.

The seniors on the team will be missed by their teammates as well.

“[The seniors] are good guys. I’m really going to miss them. We’ve become really good friends over the years,” Brandon Walton (11) said.

State will be held at IUPUI on Feb. 28 and March 1.