A lot went right for Cathedral High School boys swimming in 2016-2017.
Irish boys swimming coach Katie Doron said that could be seen throughout the season, as the boys team turned in memorable performances and record-setting times.
The Irish boys didn’t have the numbers of the area’s top programs in 2016-2017, but they had desire, camaraderie and moments of achievement. They also had a successful season that ended with a seventh-place finish at the Lawrence North Sectional in mid-February.
“We had a great season,” Doron said.
The Irish in 2016-2017 finished the sectional meet with 162 points, well behind sectional champion North Central but ahead of five other teams. They also set two school records at the sectional meet after having broken three individual school records during the season.
The Irish, who won the City Meet at the University of Indianapolis in mid-December with 290 points to runner-up Bishop Chatards’s 252, had the following swimmers finish well in their respective events at the mid-February Lawrence North High School sectional meet:
*Junior Adam Jasiak finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle at sectionals with a time of 49.86 and also finished eighth in the 50 free with a time of 23.01
*Junior Matthew Cline finished sixth in the 100 free with a time of 51.50 and sixth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 55.82.
*Senior Joseph Bem finished seventh in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:08.22 and seventh in the 100 backstroke with a time of 55.88.
*Junior Thomas Callaghan finished 11th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:12.84 and 14th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:09.80.
*Sophomore Timothy Douglas finished 14th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:02.90
*The 200 medley relay team of Bem, Cline, junior Samuel Witchger and Jasiak finished fourth with a time of 1:43.44, setting a Cathedral school record in the process.
*The 200 free relay team of junior Joshua Gantz, Callaghan, junior Justin Pugh and Witchger finished ninth with a time of 1:43.32.
*The 400 free relay team of Jasiak, Bem, Witchger and Cline finished sixth with a time of 3:29.74.
“The boys and girls both dropped lots and lots of time at sectional, and that’s what it’s all about,” Doron said. “They were smiling afterward and having a lot of fun. You have a handful of kids who can get close to getting out of sectionals, but honestly I don’t put that pressure on the kids.
“I say, ‘Tell me your goals, and I’ll train you to try to get there and we’ll see what happens.’ It’s about best times and racing well.”
Several Irish boys swimmers did just that in 2016-2017.
Jazniak, a captain, was strong enough as a junior in the 50 and 100 free events that he could make it out of sectionals to the state meet as a senior. He was a member of the record-setting 200 medley relay team and still holds the 100 free school record he set as a sophomore.
Cline’s time in the 100 backstroke at sectional also set a school record, with Benz also breaking the old school record while finishing .06 seconds behind Cline in the event.
“It’s always good to have two boys faster than the old record,” Doron said.
And while the Irish’s boys were limited in numbers in 2016-2017, and while increased numbers remains a future goal, Doron said that did nothing to take away focus or motivation this past season.
“Next year we’re not affected too much in terms of numbers,” Doron said. “It’s the year after that, that if we don’t get some people we’ll be down, it’s going to fluctuate every four years or so.
“I think in a way the guys understand that, ‘If I miss this meet or let down the team in my event,’ it’s a big deal because there’s not that many boys. They all need to get through the meet and do well, and be more encouraging for each other. They did really well.”
One factor helping both Irish programs this past season: the re-starting of a diving program that had been idle since before Doron’s arrival. Andy Walsh joined the program as diving coach in 2016-2017, with notable results.
“We wanted to develop a diving team,” Doron said. “Cathedral’s special. We don’t have a pool, but we make it work. We practice at the Natatorium [at Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis), so we have the best pools and board available. I don’t know anything about diving, but he knows his stuff and taught these kids these dives and how to move their bodies.
“The boys won the city meet last year and last year we lost by three points and we didn’t have any divers. It’s quite amazing to watch. I think it’s going to keep helping.”