Aaron Whitaker learned to swim when he was five and, as he passed through elementary and junior high, a regular form of entertainment was attending meets where his older brother, Kyle, and older sister, Talor, competed.
The fact that they became state champion swimmers was a major influence on him.
"Huge," Whitaker said Saturday as he joined his siblings as an individual state titlist in record-setting fashion and helped Chesterton High School claim the team crown at the boys swimming state meet at the IUPUI Natatorium.
While Chesterton ended a run of three straight Carmel championships, one of the casualties in the record book was a state mark set by Kyle, now an All-American at Michigan, although it stayed in the family. During Friday night's prelims, Aaron Whitaker cracked Kyle's 100-yard butterfly mark by .01 of a second. However, Saturday he set a swifter record, conquering the field in 47.33.
Then Aaron broke the five-year-old 100 backstroke mark with a time of 47.29. As a bonus, Whitaker swam on two championship relay teams, including the record-setting 400 freestyle relay that had a time of 3:01.05 in the prelims. Twin brother Ethan raced a leg on that relay, too, and placed second in the 200 free and third in the 500. There was plenty of glory to spread around among the Whitaker family.
Chesterton scored 238.5 points to capture the team title over North Central's 203.5 points. The Trojans' Blake Pieroni, who won the 200 individual medley in 1:48.86 and set a new record in the 100 free in 44.28 as part of his double victory, said he and his teammates talked a lot about capturing the team crown.
"Coach (Kevin Kinel) said it's not about individuals," Pieroni said. "We talked about that more than anything else."
Chesterton won with big swims, capturing four individual events and two relays. North Central stayed close with depth. "We projected to be 40 or 45 points behind them," North Central coach Matt Papachronis said. "(My swimmers) fought on every event."
North Central's lone victory came in the 200 free relay. Samuel Lorentz, Ted Steinkamp, Joseph Krahulik, and Steinkamp's twin brother Joe combined for a time of 1:24.26. Carmel did not win any events, but scored 173 points for third. The Greyhound's Brennan Berger took second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 individual medley.
Aaron Whitaker won the backstroke by an impressive 1.9 seconds over defending champion Austin Flager of Northridge.
After breaking his big brother's record by a hundredth of a second, and then lowering the mark further, Aaron Whitaker figured to hear from Kyle.
"I expect to," the younger Whitaker said. "He'll say congratulations." That's all for taking his record? "He probably might give me some grief."
Senior Joshua Arndt of LaPorte won the 1-meter diving for the second consecutive year with 484 points. Max Irwin of Bloomington North was runner-up to Whitaker in his record 100 fly, also posting a fast 47.88. Irwin won the 500 free in 4:23.60 and was given the Mental Attitude Award.
Trevor Carroll of South Bend's St. Joseph's, won the 200 free for the second year in a row, his time of 1:37.10, missing the state record by .08.
"It was my best," Carroll said, "but it was just off the record. I was psyched for this. I'm happy to get the win."
Flager won the 50-yard freestyle in a blistering 20.37, a good time to take to Purdue next year where he plans to swim.
"I knew I was with everyone going into the turn," Flager said. "And I knew I had the lead after the turn. I couldn't give it up."