INDIANAPOLIS — The moment was both bittersweet and educational.
When Greenfield-Central’s 400 freestyle relay exited the pool at Indiana University Natatorium Friday night in downtown Indianapolis, it marked the end of the careers of seniors Drew Logan and A.J. Shelton.
As the quartet, which included sophomore Jordan Cermak and freshman Allen Forbes, made their way back to their teammates after finishing 28th, Mark Logan watched the higher-seeded relays take to the pool. In the final heat, Chesterton’s 400 freestyle relay squad of Blake Pieroni, Ethan Whitaker, Patrick Curley and Aaron Whitaker set the pool aflame, clocking in at two minutes, 59.36 seconds. Chesterton’s time was not only well ahead of the state record the same four set at last winter’s State Finals — it was the second-fastest 400 freestyle time in high school history.
So while Mark Logan, G-C’s second year coach, watched his son, Drew, swim his final high school races Friday and also bid farewell to Shelton and fellow fourth-year Spencer Young — another senior, Nathan Graber, swam with the 200 freestyle relay Friday but is also competing in today’s diving finals — the elder Logan took solace in the fact that he had five underclassmen sitting on the bleachers behind him witnessing elite high school swimming. And he knows witnessing that excellence will fuel Forbes, Jacob Keener, Justin Miller, Isaak Tow and the rest of the Cougars, who will go for their fifth consecutive Hoosier Heritage Conference and sectional championships in 2014-15.
“The future is bright,” Mark Logan said.
Before stepping onto the starting block for the 200 freestyle Friday, Drew Logan crouched down in silence, staring straight ahead and taking in the moment. It’s been quite a journey for him the past few years.
When Mark and Emily (Drew’s mother) left the Mt. Vernon girls team to head the G-C boys and girls programs, respectively, prior to the 2012-13 season, it meant Drew had to transfer schools, and some people weren’t exactly thrilled the Logan family crossed over to another Hancock County school.
“I just worked hard and ignored some of the comments made. Coming here, they were excited for me to be another addition to the team,” said Drew Logan, who competed in the 500 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay at the 2013 State Finals. “Here, they want to work hard and they want to do well, and they know they have that bull’s-eye on their back, so they have to defend what they’ve worked for.”
Friday, Logan took 26th in the 200 freestyle, three spots ahead of his seed and setting a new school record of 1:45.02 in the process. He also placed 21st with the 200 medley relay and 27th in the 100 breaststroke.
“It was exciting making it in four races. Breaking the record in the 200 free was great because I want to get a 1:45 by the end of the season,” said Logan, who will major in biology and swim at either Gardner-Webb University (N.C.) or Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) next winter. “I was a little disappointed with the lead-off in 400 free relay because I was trying to break the 50 and 100 record in the same race and I missed it by .2 again.
“But, it was just a great experience, especially with having nine people on deck. It was great to have everybody and all this support and a huge crowd in the stands. It just made a great wrap-up to senior year.”
Three of Logan’s classmates — Graber, Shelton and Young — were making their first state appearances.
Graber led off the 200 freestyle relay, which tied for 31st; in addition to the 400 freestyle relay, Shelton raced with the 200 freestyle relay; and Young took 32nd in the 500 freestyle. Mark Logan said Young could’ve placed higher, but decided to go all-out for the school record and wound up running out of gas.
“I was excited for Spencer especially. I did not swim the 500 (free) at sectionals even though we could have 1-2-3’d it. It’s kind of bittersweet, but I’m extremely excited for him that he got to come. He made it to state his senior year, and that’s what he’s been trying to do all four years,” Drew Logan said. “In his freshman year, A.J. just wasn’t very good. Now, he’s swimming at state after winning sectionals. It’s just the effort these guys have put in.
“And I wish best of luck to Nathan who finally made it. He can place very high. We’ll be down here rooting for him.”
As for the young guns, there were some natural butterflies going around. Forbes made the trek down from Greenfield as a middle schooler to watch his older brother, Bryan. At the 2011 State Finals, the elder Forbes helped get G-C’s 200 freestyle relay to the second day of the State Finals, the first time Cougar swimmers had done that in 13 years.
“I thought it was great. It was a more intense down here. I was really nervous,” said Allen Forbes, before jokingly adding: “My first thought was, “I’m swimming against people a whole lot faster than me.’”
Forbes took 29th in the 100 backstroke and raced with the 200 medley relay team in addition to his 400 freestyle relay duties, and was joined by underclassmen Miller (200 medley relay), Tow (200 medley relay), Keener (200 freestyle relay) and Cermak (200, 400 relays).
Drew Logan doesn’t expect Friday’s state trip to be the last for the squad’s young talent, and he wants more of them here next year.
“The nerves they had, I had the same nerves last year. This year I didn’t have as many nerves,” he said. “There was a little bit just because it’s state, but the experience, if they get that early on, they’ll have several chances.
“The more people we get here, it shows what you have to do. It shows the younger guys and the guys coming in. It shows them what you have to do to make it here. Just telling someone is different than showing them and watching you make it. It’s just about leaving a legacy. … We’ve put all this work into it, we’ve created this dynasty of champions and we’re going to keep doing that until someone knocks us off, and that’s going to take a lot of work for someone to knock us off.”
Boys swimming State Finals, Friday, Indiana University Natatorium, IUPUI. Local race competitors listed by place, swimmer/school, time. Greenfield-Central’s Nathan Graber competes in the diving finals today.
200 Yard Medley Relay
21: Greenfield-Central (Allen Forbes, Justin Miller, Isaak Tow, Drew Logan), 1:39.03
26: Mt. Vernon (Cole Case, Zane Smith, Dixon Tierney, Ethan Park), 1:39.94
200 Yard Freestyle
26: Drew Logan, Greenfield-Central, 1:45.02*
200 Yard Individual Medley
31: Dixon Tierney, Mt. Vernon, 1:57.59
100 Yard Butterfly
33: Dixon Tierney, Mt. Vernon, 53.51
100 Yard Freestyle
30: Grant Gish, New Palestine, 49.38
500 Yard Freestyle
32: Spencer Young, Greenfield-Central, 5:08.70
200 Yard Freestyle Relay
31(tie): Greenfield-Central (Nathan Graber, Jacob Keener, A.J. Shelton, Jordan Cermak), 1:31.73
29: Allen Forbes, Greenfield-Central, 54.83
27: Drew Logan, Greenfield-Central, 1:00.30
400 Freestyle Relay
28: Greenfield-Central (Drew Logan, A.J. Shelton, Allen Forbes, Jordan Cermak), 3:17.10