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An array of emotions

January 13, 2019

CHESTERTON — There were a variety of emotions after the Duneland Athletic Conference Girls Swim Meet. Happiness, sadness, ecstasy, disappointment.

No matter the feeling, it was exceptional experience for the looming postseason, which begins in three weeks.

In the end, Michigan City recorded fifth (163) in the DAC Meet at Chesterton on Saturday. La Porte finished seventh (131), while the host Trojans easily captured their 20th consecutive DAC crown (551.5). Lake Central followed in second (411), and Crown Point was third (329.5). Valparaiso (fourth, 287), Portage (sixth, 151) and Merrillville (eighth, 51) were the other team showings.

“Overall, we did well,” Slicers coach John Doty said. “I was not expecting so many people to be suited up from the other teams, so that kind of caught me off guard. Most of the ‘A’ finals were in their tech suits and a lot of the ones in the ‘B’ finals. But overall, our girls had some good swims, good time drops. Everybody else is right on pace where they need to be.”

City coach Mel Kovenz, meanwhile, was delighted with his squad’s performance.

“The smiles on their faces say it all to me,” Kovenz said. “And they’re all happy. That’s the whole thing.”

For La Porte, Becca Shaffer, only a freshman, claimed fifth in the 100-yard butterfly with a season-best time of 1:01.72. She dropped seventh-tenths of a second from her seed time.

“Today my best event was the 100 fly,” Shaffer said. “Just because after my 200 IM, I was down on myself. And then, in my 100 fly, I came back and dropped seconds and got fifth place overall, which I’m pretty proud about.”

Shaffer also took ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:18.54).

To complement Shaffer, the Slicers’ Abigail Roberts claimed sixth in the 50 freestyle (25.29), to go along with her seventh-place showing in the 100 free (56.23).

La Porte’s 200 free relay team of Shaffer, freshman Gabby Hull, Alicia Wireman and Roberts notched sixth (1:49.12), while its 200 medley relay quartet of Shaffer, Roberts, Wireman and Jimena Torres posted seventh (2:02.02).

“Becca did well,” Doty said. “I knew she would kind of step up to what she needed to do in the big meet. Our 500 swimmers, they both dropped time. I was really impressed with our freshman, because some of them are new, some of them have been in swimming for a while. They really showed up.”

Wireman added a 10th-place effort in the 100 fly (1:06.17) as well as 16th in the 200 free (2:14.78).

For the Wolves, their 200 free relay team earned fifth and achieved a milestone in the process. That was comprised of Sarah Hyska, Sela VanBuskirk, Erin McGuire and Emma Heitmann (1:45.11).

“That was a school record, so that takes the shine on everything,” Kovenz said. “Sarah (Hyska) was 25.6 and we had two others at 26 (McGuire and Emma Heitmann). And then, the other swimmer, (VanBuskirk) dropped. We’ve been doing the math for this for a long time. It all worked out pretty good. The key was the medley relay dropping time. It’s kind of like a domino effect.”

Another City relay excelled as well. Its 200 medley relay team of Hyska, McGuire, Emma Heitmann and VanBuskirk placed fourth with a season-best time of 1:56.67, just missing a school record. Individually, Hyska recorded seventh in the 50 free (25.48), in addition to eighth in the 100 free (56.90).

“She’s our big gun in the sprints,” Kovenz said of the senior Hyska. “I’m not quite sure she’s extremely happy, other than with the relay. That’s one of the things we worked at. Her time is still coming up, which she’ll drop time. And going against the best right now, I’m sure some of the other ones were a little bit off, but there were some good time drops all across the board on a lot of these kids.”

Besides Hyska, McGuire registered ninth in the 200 free and dropped roughly five seconds, clocking 2:02.93. Plus, she had a PR in the 100 breaststroke, finishing seventh (1:09.58). Emma Heitmann finished ninth in the 100 butterfly (1:05.72), to go along with her 12th-place showing in the 200 IM (2:21.65). The freshman VanBuskirk took 13th in the 50 free (27.21) as well as 14th in the 100 free (1:00.07).

City diver Emily Gushrowski tallied 11th (231.10), while Chesterton’s Marina Weinberg captured diving (321.35).

After the meet, Kovenz reflected on his team’s general effort and added self confidence is paramount.

“I’m pleasantly surprised, knowing what they’ve done past the big meets,” Kovenz said. “And coming off the Highland meet, a lot of them rose up, they dropped times, they tech-suited on. It’s just what we told them they can do all along.”

Duneland Athletic Conference Meet

Michigan City placed fifth (163), and La Porte took seventh (131).

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