CMA’s Baumgartner headed to state

CMA’s Forrest Baumgartner pulls away from the pack in the butterfly Saturday afternoon during Warsaw’s boys swimming sectionals. He finished first in both the 100 fly and 200 IM, second in the 200 free relay and third in the 400 free relay.
Staff Writer

Whitney Worthen
Sports Writer

WARSAW — Swim, Forrest. Swim.
And swim Forrest Baumgartner did.
The standout junior from Culver Military Academy led the Eagles to a second-place finish with 331 points at the Warsaw Boys Swimming Sectional Saturday afternoon. Baumgartner qualified for state in both the butterfly and the Individual Medley. The state qualifier shaved a second and a half off of his 100 fly with a time of 53.33 and nearly three seconds off his prelim time in the 200 IM.
Warsaw finished in first with 467 for the sectional title, while Rochester finished in third with 261.5.
“It feels amazing. I’ve been working so hard all season,” said Baumgartner. “Seeing it pay off here, that really means a lot.
“I’ve been there a couple of times before. I really like the pool they have over there; it’s nice. I’m excited to be there again and test my mettle against some of the best swimmers in the state.”
Baumgartner is no new face to the IHSAA state swim finals. After placing in third his freshman year, he returned to the Warsaw sectional as a sophomore and punched his ticket to the highest level of competition for high school swimming in the state. However, the then sophomore finished low in prelims.
Now, back on the road to state, Baumgartner has a chance once again to leave a mark at state. Luckily for Baumgartner, his coach believes he has only begun to reach his full potential, which will only help him at state on Friday.
“That guy is just a super talented swimmer,” said CMA coach Josh Brown, “and I think he is just starting to unlock his potential.”
Baumgartner broke a record on the way to two sectional championships and clocked a PR and a near PR in another race.
“(He swam) a personal best in the lead off leg, has a new team record now in the 200 IM, so that was great and almost matched his own team record in the 100 fly,” said Brown. “That guy is just a work horse in practice, and next year, I can’t wait to see more team records to fall.”
While Baumgartner is the only CMA swimmer to qualify for state, the Eagles had a pretty good day. The Academies were seeded first in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay, but both teams barely missed a top finish, placing second in the 400 and third in the 200.
The Eagles had two additional top five finishes — the 200 Medley Relay and the 200 freestyle. Culver’s Manuel Guerra Jr., Marc Yanez, Edward Humphrey and Jacob Hare finished the Medley Relay in 1:51.41. Justin Matei – who swam with Baumgartner in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay — finished fourth in the 200 freestyle with 1:50.74.
Brown was amazed at how well his team placed.
“I feel like it was shockingly good,” said Brown about sectionals. “The guys did way better than I expected. We came into the sectionals after a long weekend, and most of the guys had been gone for a day so I wasn’t sure how they would do. They swam a lot of personal bests. I think they did a great job. I’m really proud of the team.”
Plymouth was pretty amazed with its final spot in the team rankings as well.
The Pilgrims put up a score of 178.5 and finished fifth out of 11 participating teams — the team’s best placement since Plymouth took out its pool. The swimmers cheered as Plymouth head coach Leanne Senter made the announcement.
“(It has been) a long time,” said head coach Leanne Senter about the team’s top five finish.
It was not the first time Plymouth was heard zealously celebrating at sectional.
In the second round of diving, Plymouth senior Connor Matthews began his dive. After a bad lead off, Matthews walked back to the back of the diving board, but this time with a limp in his step. Shaking off the pain, the Pilgrim once more attempted to start his dive. This time he nailed it, and the entire room erupted into cheers. When the senior resurfaced, he was greeted with not only the lead but a standing ovation from the crowd. Matthews finished first in diving while teammate Justin Moser took second, tallying 37 points for Plymouth’s overall score.
“He finished first, and he did that reverse double to a standing ovation,” said Senter. “He was wrapped with skinned shins and busted toes, but he finished. So we’re going to regionals. “
It was questionable whether he would be able to compete after warm-ups.
“Well, in the final warm up, Connor was practicing his reverse double and hit the board with his shin,” explained Senter. “So they wrapped it, and he completed diving.”
While diving was Plymouth’s best event, the Pilgrims jumped out early to fourth place after Kirk Hettich, Daniel Stauffer, Alex Vancza and Trevor Grimmett finished fourth in the opening 200 Medley Relay in 1:53.65, earning Plymouth 30 points to start.
After jumping out to the top of the pack early on, the Pilgrims fluctuated between fourth and sixth place until the final two events of the day. Sitting in sixth, Plymouth trailed Tippecanoe Valley by two points. However, without a Valley opponent competing, Stauffer pulled the Pilgrims into fifth place with a fifth place finish in the breaststroke in 1:07.89, boosting PHS to a 12-point lead over Tippy Valley.
“We made finals in every relay… Daniel in the 100 breast was probably our best individual finish – other than diving — and he had a personal best time and placed fifth. We came back and swam in every event, competed in every event, which that hasn’t happened for quite awhile,” Senter said.