By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A year ago, Austin Flager accomplished something only one other male swimmer in Northridge High School history has accomplished.
Flager won the 100-yard backstroke title at last season’s state meet (49.84) and he is back and ready to defend his title as the 76th annual state swimming meet Friday and Saturday at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis.
The senior is seeded third (51.55) behind Chesterton junior Aaron Whitaker (50.99) and Bloomington South junior Nick Wonder (51.12) heading into the swimming preliminaries Friday at 6 p.m.
The top 16 finishers in each event return for the finals on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The top eight are in the championship final and the next eight in the consolation final.
Diving preliminaries are Saturday at 9 a.m. The top 20 of 32 competitors advancing from the prelims to the semifinals after five dives each. After three dives each in the semis, the top 16 will advance to the final round for another three dives each.
Admission is $8 per session or $12 for both days.
Saturday’s championship and consolation finals will be streamed live at IHSAAtv.org beginning at 1 p.m.
The other Northridge swimmer with an individual championship is 2005 graduate A.J. Miller who captured the 200 individual medley (1:58.76) and 100 back (50.79) as a senior.
Flager is one of five returning champions. Other are Trevor Carroll of South Bend St. Joseph (200 freestyle), Joshua Arndt of LaPorte (five), Max Irwin of Bloomington North (100 butterfly) and Blake Pieroni of Chesterton (100 free).
A year ago, Northridge finished third in the state meet for the third time in school history. Carmel won the team title with 246 1/2 points, followed by Bloomington South 245 and the Raiders 217.
Chesterton is currently ranked No. 1 in the state poll, followed by Indianapolis North Central, Carmel and Northridge.
Goshen senior Adam Bratten is 24th in the 100 freestyle (48.03). He won the 100 free at the Concord sectional and is the first Redskin swimmer to win a sectional championship since Andrew Podgorski took the 100 breaststroke in 2010 at Northridge.
Bratten is also 24th in the 100 backstroke (53.70).
State Seed Leaders
200-YARD MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Bloomington North 1:34.43. Also: 5, Northridge (Austin Bernth, Jon Stoller, Austin Flager, Takoda Friesen, Jesse Drake, Joe Mueller, Philip Keller, Jeremy Burbrink) 1:35.12.
200-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Ethan Whitaker (Chesterton) 1:40.80. Also: 25, Seth Cripe (Northridge) 1:45.75.
200-YARD INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1, Cody Taylor (Columbus North) 1:51.25. Also: 4, Jon Stoller (Northridge) 1:54.67; 27, Austin Bernth (Northridge) 1:57.01.
50-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Davis Arick (Fishers) 20.49. Also: 4, Austin Flager (Northridge) 21.21.
DIVING ORDER — 1, Joshua Arndt (LaPorte) 562.85 points. Also: 12, Nick Ponce (Elkhart Central) 439.20; 22, Taylor Berkey (Northridge) 377.05.
100-YARD BUTTERFLY — 1, Aaron Whitaker (Chesterton) 48.79. Also: 12, Jon Stoller (Northridge) 51.56.
100-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Blake Pieroni (Chesterton) 45.82. Also: 24, Adam Bratten (Goshen) 48.03.
500-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Taylor Carroll (South Bend St. Joseph) 4:27.55. Also: 21, Joe Mueller (Northridge) 4:44.81.
200-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY — 1, Columbus North 1:25.54. Also: 3, Northridge (Austin Flager, Takoda Friesen, Jon Stoller, Austin Bernth, Jordan Lantz, Joe Mueller, Lucas McLain, Conner Sandt) 1:26.15.
100-YARD BACKSTROKE — 1, Aaron Whitaker (Chesterton) 50.99. Also: 3, Austin Flager (Northridge) 51.55; 24, Adam Bratten (Goshen) 53.70.
100-YARD BREASTSTROKE — 1, Cody Taylor (Columbus North) 56.32. Also: 26, Zac Hershberger (Wawasee) 1:00.57.
400-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY — 1, Chesterton 3:07.27. Also: 22, Northridge (Joe Mueller, Conner Sandt, Takoda Friesen, Austin Bernth, Jeremy Burbrink, Tyler Matthews, Chayton Friesen, Seth Cripe) 3:15.60.