Before the start of his junior season, Wyeth Brock had state meet ambitions and college aspirations.
When the season ended, he was a state meet qualifier and a college recruit.
Suffice it to say, he has even grander plans for his senior year on the Indian Creek boys swimming team.
Getting to the state meet isn’t the objective. A podium finish is.
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“It’s a really good foundation for me to build on and hopefully improve and get my name out there,” Wyeth said of last year’s state meet debut. “I’m planning on swimming in college, and that really helped me to get my name out there for some colleges.”
What helped was a 19th-place finish in the 100 backstroke and a 30th-place finish in the 100 butterfly. He narrowly missed the finals in the backstroke and had a personal-best time in the butterfly.
With one year of high school remaining, that was enough to draw serious attention from two of the nation’s top NCAA Division III programs, Kenyon College and Denison University. Both located in Ohio, they are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in Division III.
Brock expects to soon choose between one or the other. But college isn’t his immediate concern.
Closing his senior year with podium finishes.
To have a shot, he must first win sectional championships — or beat cut-off times at the sectional — to qualify for state. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, advancement would seem a virtual certainty in light of the fact he is a defending sectional champion in the backstroke and butterfly.
So for Brock, the key to a state medal is improve on the times that got him there for the first time last year.
Braves coach Brad Smith said he is confident Brock can do it.
“We’d definitely like the top 16, but we’re really shooting for a top eight medal,” Smith said. “Getting on the podium, having that focus in mind and really pushing toward that (is the goal).”
Although Brock has displayed the talent and determination to reach his objectives, the path forward has not been without obstacles.
Because of a maintenance issue that closed Indian Creek’s pool the entire summer through the first half of October, Braves swimmers had to travel to Shelbyville daily for practice — not exactly a short jaunt from Trafalgar. The inconvenient commute, coupled with unfamiliar surroundings, was a less than ideal arrangement for training and making gains.
But it was the only available option for the Braves, who made the best of a difficult situation.
“It did take a toll on the kids, not being able to have total, consistent practice, but his offseason training was good,” Smith said. “He looks really good right now.
“The foundation has been laid for a great season ahead.”
Smith’s optimism is the product of close familiarity with Brock’s determination. A soft-spoken athlete known among teammates for his business-like demeanor, he is not easily distracted, is never rattled and is always pushing himself to lower times.
“He’s stubborn, but that’s good for him,” Smith said. “He’s stubborn from the standpoint that he just refuses to let things get to him. He’s very focused. He’s driven. He has one thing in mind, and he just drives towards it.
“Sometimes we get him to laugh and joke, and that’s really hard to do. But he doesn’t get upset on the other side, either. He’s just that kind of kid.”
With the postseason more than two months away, Brock — whose older brother, Levi, swims for the ninth-ranked Indiana University men’s team — is simply building towards saving his best for last.
“Mentally, I feel like I’m a little more tough, because I was at several big (state- and national-level club) meets over the summer,” said Brock, a product of the Indian Creek Aquatics Clubs. “And I feel like my training’s increased, and I just have more experience.
“I’m feeling pretty good.”
Name: Levi Brock
High school: Indian Creek
Events: Signature races are the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly:
2014-15 highlights: Sectional champion in the backstroke and butterfly; finished 19th at the IHSAA State Meet in the backstroke and 30th in the butterfly.
College plans: Expects to soon decide between Kenyon College and Denison University, ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respective, in NCAA Division III men’s swimming and diving; plans to study pre-med.
Parents: Eric and Dana Brock