La PORTE — A year ago, La Porte swimmer Graham Siefker was a mere freshman on a senior-laden team and had to adjust being low on the totem pole.
Even though his role has dramatically changed this season, Siefker is relishing it.
“Last year, I was kind of the new guy who had to learn all the ropes and kind of get shown what to do, when to do it, and stuff like that,” Siefker said. “And this year, I see myself more in the role, maybe not meet-wise, but friendship-wise, of one of the older guys. Just helping the new guys out and helping things run more smoothly, and being a good person that people can go talk to.”
At the same time, Siefker is a dynamic swimmer who has been counted on immensely by the Slicers.
Thursday night was no different.
He tallied third in the 50-yard freestyle (23.68), to go along with his third-place showing in the 100 backstroke (59.43). Siefker was part of a pair of relay teams as well for La Porte’s fourth-place 200 medley relay team (1:59.34), in addition to the 200 free relay quartet, which also posted fourth (1:46.20). Also comprising the 200 medley relay were Lucas Banic, Jordan Hull and Hunter Moffitt, while Banic, Prestin Butcher and Hull were part of the 200 free relay.
“I had a lot of fun in the 50 free,” Siefker said. “I’ve been working on everything in the 50 free. It’s such a technical race. Everything has to be perfect in order for stuff to be executed right. I was racing against a lot of guys who I’ve been facing for years, Alejandro Kincaid and Andrew Alders. It was cool to also see them in high school because Alejandro Kincaid is a freshman.”
In the end, the Slicer boys team fell 142-39 to Chesterton at the Slicer Natatorium. La Porte’s girls, meanwhile, dropped a 144-37 decision to the Trojans.
“We did OK, about what I expected,” Slicers boys coach Austin Butcher said. “This is our peak training time of the year. I even had the boys practice a little bit before the meet, so I wasn’t expecting really too good of times, too fast of swims.”
Coach Butcher’s colleague, La Porte girls coach John Doty, had a little different sentiment.
“To be perfectly honest, we did better than expected,” Doty said. “I have been killing them the last couple of weeks over break. We had practice this morning and everybody was beat and dead and grumpy this morning, so to come and swim like they did today, I’m very impressed and very happy with their performance.”
Abigail Roberts recorded the Slicers’ lone first-place finish of the night in a swimming event, earning first in the 100 freestyle (56.13). She edged out Chesterton’s Abi Raines, who took second (56.27).
On the boys side, Coach Butcher has seen firsthand Siefker grow and mature in the pool and develop into a premier swimmer.
“Graham is definitely one of our hardest workers,” Butcher said. “He’s been to every practice. He swims every set, every yard for the most part. He’s definitely putting in the work. I know he’s excited to get tapered down and ready for the sectional.”
Butcher added Siefker had a great leadoff in the 200 medley relay, earning a split time of 25.95 in the backstroke.
Besides Siefker shining, La Porte’s Toy Hayes claimed first in boys diving (175.60) and won by nearly 22 points.
Out of the pool, Siefker is an exceptional student, carrying a 4.0 grade point average. He takes as many advanced placement classes as a sophomore can take. He’s currently taking AP Seminar, or an English Language Arts class, and AP World History.
Siefker is aiming to have all his prerequisite classes done after this school year, so he can be in the higher level AP classes next school year.
“I like school,” Siefker said. “It’s not what a lot of kids like, but I like the challenge. I like learning new stuff. I have fun with it all.”
While Siefker and Hayes excelled, four Slicers separated themselves for Doty in the girls meet.
“Abigail Roberts got two season-best times, in her split in the 200 medley relay and her 100 free,” Doty said. “And that was actually her third-fastest time. That was good to see. So she did amazing. Gabby Hull had a good night. We tried her out in the ‘A’ relay for a couple things. And she swam really well and dropped a bunch of time. I’ve got to give it to Callie Hekter in the 100 breaststroke. She was our only swimmer in it and got a season-best time. So that’s always tricky when you’re the only one, and going up against Chesterton. And Carley Hobbs in the 500 free, she dropped eight seconds from her season best. So I just can’t believe that one.”
Roberts’ split in the 200 medley relay was 33.55, good enough for fourth (2:05.50), and Hekter clocked 1:23.37 in the 100 breaststroke for fourth. Hobbs took fifth in the 500 free with a time of 6:54.80.