FORT WAYNE – A trio of boys in swimsuits padded barefoot across the lengthy side of the Helen P. Brown Natatorium late Sunday afternoon and stopped to ogle the three-foot trophy that annually is presented to the City Swim Meet champion.
Getting a closer look, one of the three ran his index finger down the side, where the names of the recent team winners are inscribed: “Sycamore Hills, Sycamore Hills, Sycamore Hills, Sycamore Hills,” the lad read.
And the 2012 title makes five.
For the fifth consecutive year, Sycamore Hills claimed the team championship, scoring 1,943.50 points to outdistance Blackhawk, which had 1,604. Arlington Park finished third with 1,297.50.
And after the ceremonial dip into the pool, which included holding the trophy high to keep it as dry as possible, coach Nick Rittenhouse spread the credit around.
“You can’t rely on just one age group or one individual,” a soaked Rittenhouse said. “It relies on the kids working together as a team. It’s more of a team effort.
“A lot of people think swimming is such an individual sport, but when it comes down to it, I’m not just holding this trophy because of one or two individuals. It’s a group of kids working together, realizing they have teammates that they’re racing for.”
Sycamore Hills had nine relay teams take first place, and 10 first-place individuals compared to three relay wins for Blackhawk and five individual titles.
The four-time defending champion also won the boys’ and girls’ competition, but not overwhelmingly. The girls outscored Blackhawk 1,177-978, and the Sycamore Hills boys narrowly edged Arlington Park, 766.50-763.50.
Dana Smith, competing in the 11-12 girls category, was the lone three-time winner for Sycamore Hills, taking firsts in the 50-meter freestyle, breaststroke and 100 individual medley.
In all, there were six individual triple-winners in Mykaela Crowell of Columbia City (9-10 girls), Landan Mintch, Arlington Park (15-over boys), Jaegar Loran, Pocahontas (11-12 boys), Gabriel Swardson, Arlington Park (13-14 boys) and Finn Brooks, Pocahontas (8-under boys).
Early in the meet, Brooks broke a long-standing record with a finals time of 15:24 in the 25-meter freestyle. The old mark of 15.60 was set by Dan Meyer in 1969.
“I felt like I went fast,” Brooks said.