FORT WAYNE – The Carroll boys swim and dive team entered the Helen P. Brown Natatorium on Saturday as the underdogs.
The Chargers had lost to Homestead 533-505 at the NHC meet last month and the Spartans had won 19 consecutive sectional titles.
The deciding race was the 400-yard freestyle relay. Homestead and Carroll were side-by- side the whole race with the Spartans just inches in front until the last 25 yards when Chargers anchor Brian Niebuhr surged to secure the upset, 525-519.5.
This is Carroll’s second sectional championship, the first one coming in 2006-07 when the two teams competed in different sectional meets.
I feel like the most blessed coach, Carroll coach John Gibson said. We went in knowing it was going to be an uphill battle and we were prepared for that.
I told the guys to come out and swim like every race was the decider and to fight in every race and they did. They swam with so much heart.
The Chargers were led by three swimmers who broke sectional records and earned state cut times: Niebuhr, 1:43.12 (200 freestyle), Ryan Huizing, 50.12 (100 butterfly), and the 200 freestyle relay team, 1:26.52.
For Homestead, lifetime-best performances and six state qualifying times just were not enough.
The team swam well but not well enough, Homestead coach Chad Englehart said. Many of our guys had lifetime bests, but we weren’t quite hungry enough. Carroll came and swam their hearts out.
Homestead took the top three spots from the diving board, led by Kevin Frebel who surpassed his brother’s 10-year-old sectional record, scoring 535.10 points.
It was a great performance, Frebel said. I went in prepared and I had a feeling I could break the record.
I’m looking forward to regionals and then state. There is a good possibility of being in the top three next weekend, maybe better if I dive well enough.
Frebel finished eighth at state last year as a freshman, the only underclassman to break into the top 10.
Homestead’s Noah Marble and Ryan Moore and Carroll’s Evan Miller also qualified for Tuesday’s diving regional meet in Fishers.
The top eight at the regional meet will compete at the state competition.
Snider finished third in the team standings with 307 points, Bishop Dwenger fourth (201) and South Side fifth (150). South Side’s Jessica Easton earned the Coach of the Year award.
Other Homestead state qualifiers include: the 200 medley relay team, Mark Whitaker (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Seth Johnson (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke).
Other Carroll state qualifiers include: the 200 medley relay team, Jackson Kent (200 individual medley, 500 freestyle), Huizing (50 freestyle), Niebuhr (100 freestyle), William Schrensky (100 backstroke).
Snider’s Gabriel Swardson earned a state qualifying time in the 100 butterfly.
The state swim meet begins with preliminary races at 6 p.m. Friday at the Indiana University Natatorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis. On Saturday, the diving preliminary rounds are scheduled for 9 a.m. and the finals are scheduled for 1 p.m.