The 2021 Duneland Athletic Conference Boys Swimming Championship took place on Saturday at Lake Central High School with teams competing from Chesterton, Valparaiso, Lake Central, Portage, Merrillville, Michigan City, La Porte, and Crown Point.
During the opening ceremony, Lake Central’s Roger Dombkowski recognized Coach Mel Kovenz of the Michigan City Wolves who is retiring from coaching. Coach Kovenz’s career began at Southmount Senior High School, to the Sullair Piranhas, then a two-time state champion diving coach at La Porte High school, and finally, with Michigan City.
“Mel has taught and inspired thousands of swimmers and divers,” said Dombkowski. “In his own gruff way, he cared about every one of them.”
From there Coach Dumbkowski recognized Roger and Gloria Dombkowski, who happen to be his parents, as they are retiring after 37 years of officiating. Wearing specially signed commemorative officiating shirts, the Dombkowskis accepted a DAC plaque honoring and thanking them.
“You have made countless swimmers and divers smile and laugh,” said Coach Dombkowski. “This is not a goodbye, but rather a thank you for all you have done.”
Then it was time for the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, where Chesterton took first place, Crown Point took second, and Lake Central took third. In the 200-yard freestyle, Gabriel Eschback of Chesterton won making him the event champion. In an exciting moment, Lucas Piunti of Chesterton broke the DAC record for the 200-yard individual medley (IM) with a time of 1:51.31.
In the boys 50-yard freestyle, Valparaiso’s Zach Juhl took home the champion title, while in the 100-yard butterfly Conner Casbon won. For the 100-yard freestyle, Valparaiso’s Zach Juhl won another event champion title. Not to be outdone, Chesterton’s Gabriel Eschbach won an additional champion title in the 500-yard freestyle.
Energy and excitement soared when Lake Central won the boys 200-yard freestyle relay champion title. The 100-yard backstroke race resulted in Alejandro Kincaid of Chesterton winning first place, and in the 100-yard breastroke it was Eric Tinsley of Lake Central who won first. For the final and perhaps most exciting event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, Chesterton’s team comprised of Gabriel Eschbach, Alejandro Kincaid, Aidan Tharp, and Scottie Pejic earned the DAC event championship title.
Final scores overall resulted in Chesterton winning the conference championship title with 521 points, Lake Central with 412.5, Valparaiso with 345, Crown Point with 335, Michigan City with 171.5, La Porte with 132, Merrillville with 85, and Portage with 80.