Avon High School junior Parks Jones had his sights set on the state record for the 200-yard freestyle as he sliced through the water of the Natatorium at IUPUI.
His time of 1 minute, 37.11 seconds was .09 seconds off the record but still good enough to edge Chesterton senior Ethan Whitaker for the state title.
It was one of the few times Chesterton was bested all afternoon.
The Trojans were able to secure the boys swimming state championship after 12 events and finished with 240 points. Avon finished second with 198, aided by strong performances from Jones and Christian Loren, who finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 54.88.
“They’ve been a wrecking ball for years,” Avon coach Jon Karr said of Chesterton. “They’ve elevated everyone in the state of Indiana just to compete with them.”
Despite the second-place finish, Jones felt optimistic about the state of Avon swimming moving forward.
“Next year, we’re definitely going to have an even better chance at winning the state title,” he said.
Hamilton Southeastern, the second-ranked team headed into Saturday’s competition, had a disappointing afternoon, finishing in seventh place (109 points). One bright spot for the Royals was the 1-meter diving performance by senior Cody Coldren, who took first with 536.20 points.
After being honored on the podium for his performance, Coldren had tears of joy streaming down his face while receiving hugs from teammates and coaches.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s a great feeling,” Coldren said of winning the title during his senior year. “Any given day, these dives can go horribly wrong or horribly right, and it’s a great feeling to have them go right all in one day.”
Although the rest of the meet didn’t go the way Hamilton Southeastern coach Andy Pedersen planned, seeing his senior diver perform was rewarding for him.
“Cody told us last March that he was going to do whatever it takes to win the state championship,” Pedersen said. “He worked all season long to do that, and it’s really fitting that he was able to do that today.”
Sixth-ranked Carmel finished fifth (124 points), led by senior Benjamin Burdic finishing fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:40.90). Adam Destrampe of Franklin finished third in the 200 freestyle (1:39.62) and fourth in the 500 freestyle (4:30.03). However, the Grizzly Cubs wound up in 11th place with 79 points.
Every time it appeared Avon might have a shot to sneak into the lead, Chesterton widened the gap.
In the 200 medley relay, the Trojans set a state record with a 1:29.64 performance, unofficially the second fastest in the nation.
Five events after that, Chesterton senior Aaron Whitaker broke his own state record by swimming a 46.31 in the 100 butterfly, a record he set the previous night at preliminaries. He also nabbed the state record during the 100 backstroke with a time of 47.06.
Trojans coach Kevin Kinel said it was the best team he had ever coached and didn’t seem too concerned about the number of seniors he would be losing to graduation.
“I’ll worry about that tomorrow,” Kinel said with a smile.