Boys swimming returns with high ambitions


S. Findley

Junior Harrison Hite practices freestyle during an afternoon practice.

Rachel Ingle, Staff Writer

Center Grove boys swimming and diving is returning this season with high ambitions. With the loss of last year’s talent, including 100-yard freestyle state champion Ethan Martin and 500-yard freestyle sectional champion Ethan Hite, a new challenge is presented for the boys team to earn back those extra points. However, with this gap now in the boys lineup, opportunities arise for new and returning swimmers to step up and take this role. The boys swimming and diving season kicks off Saturday, November 27, with a dual meet against Plainfield.

New Swimmer to Watch
Vincent Howe – Freshman Vincent Howe jumps into this season with a running start, having competed at the State and Zone levels for the past six years. Possessing high achievements at the age-group level, along with the versatility to swim a variety of different events, Howe looks to be a contributor on the varsity level for the boy’s team this season.

“Vincent is still young and very versatile, so he has been practicing a lot of different things. We are doing a lot of training during practice related to not only conditioning, but race specific training and different race strategies. Hopefully through this, Vincent is going to learn what’s best for him and hopefully be able to put it all together for his races,” assistant coach Tim Haley said. “He is a very promising freshman swimmer for this season, and I am hoping he can put it all together mentally and physically and improve this season.”

New Swimmer to Watch
Max Hite – Freshman Max Hite has proven himself to be talented in several areas of the pool throughout his middle school career, including the 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. Expect Hite to progress throughout the season as he gains more high school experience and be a potential point-scorer for the Trojans.

“Max is definitely someone to keep an eye on this season. He comes in and works hard every day and responds well to feedback from all of his coaches. I expect him to be someone who leaves a lasting mark on this program over the next four years,” assistant coach Amy Spencer said.

Returning Swimmer to Watch
Garrett Crist – Senior Garrett Crist has been leading the Trojans both in and out of the pool throughout his high school swimming career. Crist remains one of the team’s most talented swimmers, placing third in the 200-yard individual medley and being awarded two All-State titles (200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay) during his junior season. As Crist continues to score major points at meets and lead the team throughout the season, he will be a major contributor to the team’s success.

“This year I want to try to be a role model and really help push everyone through the tough parts of the season so that we are all mentally tough and ready to win sectionals at the end,” Crist said. “Performing well at meets will also be an important aspect of my season. I want to support the team as much as possible and help us achieve our goals.”

Returning Swimmer to Watch
Ben Clarkston – Senior Ben Clarkston returns for his final high school season with a recent commitment to Ball State University. Not only does Clarkston plan to continue his swimming career on the D1 level following this season, he is also up to be Center Grove’s top-scoring swimmer after an impressive finish to his junior season, with two third place Sectional titles (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke) and receiving two All-State titles (200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay). Proving himself to be capable of succeeding Martin in sprint-freestyle events, Clarkston will play an important role in leading the Trojans to victory.

“The main goal for this season is to finish out my years as a Trojan on a good note and to place as high as possible at state. If I can drop any time on my events during the regular season when the team is exhausted, I think I’ll be in a really good position to place well at high school state when we are tapered. With determination and discipline, I can make everything fall perfectly into place by the end of the season,” Clarkston said.

Most Anticipated Meets
Zionsville | Dec. 21
The Zionsville dual meet is a new addition to the Trojan’s meet schedule this year. Placing third at state last year against Center Grove’s eighth place finish, Zionsville is the toughest opponent Center Grove will face in a dual meet and will present an unprecedented challenge for the boys.

Sectional Championship | Feb. 17-19
The Sectional Championship is the most competitive meet of the season for the varsity boy’s team. Franklin Community is a fierce competitor to the Trojans at this meet, for the Grizzly Cubs have won the past nine sectional titles. Center Grove will be chasing down their first sectional title since 2013.

With the combination of their strong upperclassman class and improving group of underclassmen, Center Grove looks to dominate the pool this season and challenge Franklin Community at sectionals.

“Although we lost some of our key swimmers, I think we are a better team now than ever. Everyone that has returned has vastly improved, and the freshmen we’ve gained have been incredible. In terms of competing, Indiana is packed with a ton of talent in swimming. I have no doubt in my mind that our team can be successful. With that being said, our biggest competitor to the team really is ourselves. If we can continue to work hard at practice and be ready to race in the big meets, I think our team will be reaching new heights. I believe this team collectively has the potential to be one of the best teams in Center Grove history. Now it’s up to us to write the pages,” Clarkston said.