There are many signs in and around the Franklin Community High School natatorium.
Most are fun. One is unmistakably serious.
The displays include “Duck Dynasty” beards placed on mostly fresh faces of the varsity swimming and diving team members mounted on the windows separating the hallway and the swimming venue. There also are posters down the hallway, touting each swimmer and diver, reflecting each one’s personality.
The sign above the team’s locker room entrance bears a simple message: “Hard Work Pays.” It was put there by second-year coach Zach DeWitt.
“That’s our motto,” DeWitt said. “Hard work will be the biggest determiner of success.”
It’s the sign Adam Destrampe notices most. It’s practically the junior swimmer’s mantra.
“You can’t fake it,” said Destrampe. “You can’t get around the hard work and be able to compete at an elite level. Not many sports are (having people) up and walking out the door when it’s 5 degrees outside. It’s hard.
“The whole motivational part for us is just getting better.”
Destrampe and his teammates, by the way, not only practice usually four mornings a week but return for practice again following the school day as well at least twice a week.
On Wednesday afternoon, the team was back at it. Practices usually begin with freshman Justice Robinson doing a cannonball off the high dive — it’s the Cubs’ factory whistle, of sorts.
A gritty dedication to doing the exhaustive work has netted big returns for Destrampe and his teammates as Franklin, ranked No. 7 in the final state poll, has shown all the signs of a program that continues to reach new heights.
Franklin, host of the boys sectional, is seeking its own “triple crown” this season. The team eyes defending the first sectional trophy it ever won in boys swimming, ending county rival Center Grove’s nearly three-decade reign last year.
“I’m hoping we can win sectionals again,” Destrampe said. “It was a big thing for the program in general. It showed people we might be good on a state level.”
In late December this season, Franklin claimed its first Johnson County Meet championship, outdistancing the defending champion Trojans by 92 team points. Next, the Cubs captured the Mid-State Conference team title at Plainfield, setting a record for most team
Destrampe was instrumental in both big meets.
In the county competition at Indian Creek, the junior won the 200 and 500 freestyle events with times of 1:44.50 and 4:44.50, respectively. Moreover, he combined with teammates Dan Rice, Kevin Stahl and Clayton Culp to take both the 200 and 400 freestyle relay races.
Another highlight this season: Destrampe teamed with Rice, Stahl and Culp to set the school record in the 200 medley relay with a mark of 1:39.01 before the holiday break.
Last year, Destrampe snapped the all-time Franklin mark in the 500 freestyle, posting a time of 4:31.95.
His sophomore season concluded in the IHSAA state championship meet, where he placed fourth in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 free.
Choosing his path
Destrampe is part of a swimming family but tried football, basketball, baseball and soccer as a grade-schooler. He gave each one a shot but realized the ball sports weren’t going to figure in his athletics future.
“When I was 10, that’s when I decided I wanted to swim competitively and not participate in the other sports,” he said.
That had to be pleasing for his dad, Kevin Destrampe, who once competed at Ohio State and finished his collegiate at Carroll College in Wisconsin, where he later was named to Carroll’s athletics hall of fame. Kevin Destrampe also competed in the junior national meet.
“My dad was a competitive swimmer,” Destrampe said. “He threw me in the water at the age of 3.”
Once he settled on swimming, he was all in.
So much so, the pool’s freshman swimming records board shows Destrampe owning school records in seven individual events (he has all but two) and being part of three relay teams that hold standards.
DeWitt notes his junior standout is versatile enough to compete in most any event, but the IHSAA limits swimmers to two individual events and four events total.
All about attitude
Destrampe has enjoyed his success but noted his biggest reward is being a member of close-knit group and savoring that camaraderie.
The Franklin athletes are with each other for practices, meets and much of what free time is available, he noted.
“The best thing is being around all the guys. They become your second family the way you get to know all of them.”
As Destrampe competes in each race, his approach is simple.
“When you’re swimming, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking I need to do well so the entire team will do well.”
“He’s entirely coachable,” DeWitt said. “He’s very detail-oriented and very, very smart.”
He’s also a good big brother — which includes rooting for his brother. Jacob, now a seventh-grader at the middle school, is a top swimmer in his age group nationally, according to DeWitt.
“He’s a big supporter for Jacob,” the Franklin coach said.
That’s not surprising.
Given what his coaches demand and factoring in the strong bonds he has with his friends and teammates, Destrampe’s involvement — in what is now his sport — is certainly not always about him.