• Kokomo beat Manchester 132-37 in its season opener Monday. Banush won the 200 free (2:00.32) and 100 fly (1:01.09). Brookshire won the 50 free (:24.27) and 100 free (:55.21). Harding won the 200 IM. Church was tops in the 500 free (6:25.44). Hawk won the 100 back (1:04.85).
Kokomo swept the relays. Hawk, Pratt, Banush and Caleb Cook won the 200 medley in 1:53.62. Schorm, Shackelford, Philip Heilman and Church won the 200 free in 1:45.87. And Hawk, Cook, Shackelford and Brookshire won the 400 free in 3:52.52.
The Comets were dealt a heavy blow before the season ever started. The squad's top returning swimmer, junior Sam Rocchio, will miss the season after tearing an ACL in his knee during football season. Rocchio, the school's record holder in the 50 free, finished seventh or better in three events in last season's sectional, where Eastern finished ninth as a team.
“We’re pretty young this year, but practices have gone very well," Comets coach Gregg Hensler said. "We don’t have a whole lot of diversity in stroke, but our sprints and relays should be well covered. Everyone has been working really hard in the pool. We’re ready for a new season, but it’s sad that Sam is not going to be back.”
Senior Charlie Doak finished 16th in the 100 butterfly in the sectional and also swam a leg on the 200 medley relay team that finished seventh. Senior Lewis Duke was a member of the 400 free relay team which finished seventh.
Freshmen Zach Eckert and Bryce Newhouse will be called upon immediately to play large roles, with Eckert leading the way in the IM and backstroke and Newhouse being among the team's top sprinters. Sophomore Trevor Buchanan and freshman Andrew Doak will be the squad's top divers.
“It’ll be a learning year for a lot of my guys," Hensler said. "Our young guys will have a learning curve that they’ll have to adjust to. So, everyone is looking forward to a new adventure of working as a team to build in our individual events and relays.”