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Keenan Baldus, 13, swims in the consolation final of the 13-14 boys 50-meter backstroke.

Blackhawk repeats as City Swim champ

Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Coaches and competitors cheer for swimmers in the individual medley races during the finals of the City Swim.

Blackhawk won its second consecutive championship on Sunday at the 53rd annual City Swim Championships. Blackhawk won over second-place Sycamore Hills 1,926-1,484.

Sycamore Hills placed first in the girls team standings over Blackhawk 1,052-988.5 but placed sixth in the boys, giving Blackhawk the advantage. Blackhawk placed first in the boys over Pine Valley 937.5-795.

“For me, it’s not about winning. But for the kids, it’s about winning,” Blackhawk coach Chris Knoblauch said. “So for them, it’s probably super important, but for me I just care about them doing their best.

“That’s what we focus on because you might not always win, but you can always do your personal best.”

Knoblauch was unsure about how easily defending the title was going to be.

“Going into the meet, I felt like a lot of the kids are at the bottom of their age group.” Knoblauch said. “We have a lot of 11 year olds, 13 year olds, and so sometimes it’s not as easy to score when you’re going against the age above you and so I was a little nervous about that, but they all did a great job.”

Thirteen-year-old Jaeger Loran is one of the Blackhawk swimmers at the bottom of his age group. That didn’t stop him from breaking a 19-year-old meet record and taking first place in an event where he was the youngest (and fastest) swimmer to make the finals.

“I just have really good coaches,” Loran said about his success.

He broke the record in the boys 13-14 50-meter backstroke in a time of 29.04 seconds, breaking Eric Limkeman’s record (29.31) set in 1995.

Going into the meet, Loran had seven meet records starting with 8-and-under age group and up through 11-12.

He was the top qualifier in the 13-14 50 fly and won the event in 28.21. The record is 27.10 by Jonathon Ranochak in 2000.

“I have next year, too, since I didn’t get both records,” Loran said about the 50 fly result.

He also earned third place in the 50-meter freestyle.

Loran still has seven records. His 2011 record in the 9-10 25 freestyle was broken by Finn Books of Pocahontas in 13.73.

Blackhawk’s win comes the weekend after winning the City Dive Championship title. “I coach at Snider and the dive coach at Blackhawk (Chris Giant) is also the coach at Snider, so it was cool to see her get the opportunity to win,” Knoblauch said. “The only thing it did for us, though, is put more pressure on the swimmers, but we can handle the pressure. It was exciting to win.”