VHS Class of 2012 Swimming & Diving Seniors Honored

By: Kathy Mangel Last Updated: January 26, 2012

Editor's Note: The following is the honoring of the Valparaiso High School boys and girls swimming and diving team's senior members, who participated in their final regular season home meet on January 17, 2012 as the Vikings took on the Wolves of Michigan City. Click here for a full photo gallery of the meet!

Now let’s introduce our Men’s 2012 Seniors! We’ll start with the Captains……

First is Dion Low.

Dion’s parents are Don and Lin Low. Dion is a senior swim captain and has been swimming for VHS for 4 years and swimming competitively for 12 years. He has been a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American for the last 2 consecutive years with a third on the way. He broke VHS’s 200 IM record from 1972 and the 100 Backstroke record from 2006. His plans after high school are to attend M.I.T. and major in Biological Engineering. Although his team mates will miss his smile and his leadership, they fondly admit that they won’t miss his dry-land practices! Dion would like to give special thanks to his parents for their guidance and their limitless love to help him balance his schedule. Dion wants his team mates to know that he’s going to miss such a great supportive team of swimmers and “ if there’s a team that works the hardest and shows its respect the most, it is most definitely this one."

Next is Conner Sunday

His parents are Dave and Joy Sunday. Conner is also a senior swim captain and has been swimming for VHS for 4 years. Conner also swam club for years, including participating in two winning Age Group State relays: free and medley, in 2006. Connor’s outside interests include acting and singing, as well as having a weekly internet news program on ValpoLife called “The Sunday Segment With Conner Sunday”. Conner plans to go on to college to study Broadcast Communications and Business. Conner would like to thank his parents for putting up with chlorine constantly circulating through their nostrils, and for indulging his swim-season appetite for Kelsey’s. His teammates will remember him not only for his leadership, but for his singing. They are sure that if he could have added an underwater singing event to meets, he would have taken gold each time. Conner wants his team mates to know that “swimming over the past 9 years has been one of the best things that I have done with my life”.

Our next senior is Pit Jaekel.

Pit’s parents are Birgit Jaekel and Kurt Hoellger. Pit is a foreign exchange student from Germany. His host is Mike Striker, who will be standing in for his parents. Pit has only been swimming with VHS this year, having decided to try after hearing that Brandon and Trevor were swimming. In his home country, his sport of choice is indoor field hockey. He plans on returning to Germany, finishing school there, then becoming a lawyer in the U. S.. Special fans in the crowd for Pit are Lea, Mike-Boy, Sara, and Jack. Pit’s teammates will remember his playfulness and his authenticity, but especially his ability to get away with yelling at everyone in German! Pit would like to thank Mike Striker for everything he has done, from housing him, to taking him places, and for all of his support. He would like to thank his teammates for welcoming him, “it was a great experience with great people, and I would do it again!”.

Next up is Ethan Joll.

Ethan’s parents are Jeff and Stephanie Joll. He has been swimming for VHS for 4 years. After high school, Ethan plans on attending IUPUI. Ethan’s parents are very proud of how Ethan always keeps his “eye on the prize”, gets the job done, and is very self-directed. His team mates will remember his amazing ability to “cool down cats”, his American short-shorts, but most of all…that no matter how hard things might get, Ethan never complains. He will miss his teammates and the “epic home meets”. Ethan would like to thank his parents for their support in swimming…from driving him to practices before he could drive to feeding him. He doubts he would have “come this far in such a short time without their support.” He believes that in swimming he “went in a boy and came out a man.”

Our last Senior is Brandon Karcher.

Brandon’s parents are Tom and Angie Karcher. Brandon has on the swim team for 2 years. After graduating, he plans on “living up” his summer, going to college and becoming a doctor. His parents are most proud of his compassion and his loyalty. Brandon says that swimming is an intense sport, physically and mentally and it takes a tough person to do it. He finds all his teammates to be “extra tough men”, he will miss them, and he hopes they have successful futures. He thanks his parents for standing behind him and giving him so many priceless opportunities, and to Coach Boomer and Coach Tim “for making me into a better man”.

His advice to his teammates: “Have fun, stay fit, and do something sweet every day!

And now the 2012 Women's Seniors...

ALLIE LAMBERSON is currently one of the Senior Team Captains and served as Junior Captain last year.

She is the daughter of Tom & Janie Lamberson and has been swimming for 10 years. Allie psyches herself up for a meet by “doing nothing special … just going to the meet.” She thinks the weirdest thing about Coach Pete is when he drives the minibus. Her most memorable moment about swimming is when Coach Pete dumped the entire basket of pull buoys on Justine. Being with her best friends every day is what she will miss most of all about swimming. Dry itchy skin is what she won’t miss.

Allie plans to attend and swim for IU after high school.

RILEY CARTER is currently one of the Senior Team Captains.

She is the daughter of John & Kim Carter and has been swimming for 10 years. Riley psyches herself up for a meet by “listening to Nicki Minaj on the bus and laughing with her team.” She thinks the weirdest thing about her coach is “his witch laugh.” Her most memorable moments about swimming are dancing to “One Time,” dancing with Coach Kristy, and fun times with Molly. “Her girls, amazing coaches, and a great work-out” is what she will miss most of all about swimming; smelling like chlorine 24/7 is what she won’t miss.

Riley plans to attend Butler University to study Biology after high school (probably).

JUSTINE JOHNSON is the daughter of Jim & Mary Ann Johnson and has been swimming for 12 years.

Justine psyches herself up for a meet by listening to music. She thinks the weirdest thing about her coach is his “hyena laugh and chipmunk smile.” Her most memorable moment about swimming is when she decided to try swimming before she knew how and her mom had to rescue her when she was five. The team comradery is what she will miss most of all about swimming but she will not miss swimming with undiscovered species that are living in our pool.

Justine plans to attend Purdue University to study nursing after high school.

LAUREN LAFFERTY is the daughter of Matthew & Susan Lafferty and has been swimming competitively for 5 years.

Lauren psyches herself up for a meet by sitting and visualizing her race. She thinks the weirdest thing about her coach is … “everything.” Her most memorable moment about swimming is falling off of her bike the day before swimming at age group state. “All of the girls and seeing them every day, the swim team is like her second family” is what she will miss most of all about swimming. The smelly pool is what she won’t miss.

Lauren plans to attend PNC and hopes to be a nurse or a psychologist after high school.

… AND WE HAVE SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST ….

RYAN THOMAS is the “favorite” daughter of Roland & Kim Thomas. She is who they love the most. She has been swimming for 5 years.

Ryan psyches herself up for a meet by listening to “pump up jams.” She thinks the weirdest thing about her coach is that he wears weed pants. Her most memorable moment about swimming is when Coach Pete threw a chair in the pool. The team is what she will miss most of all about swimming. “So much water!” Is what is will not miss.

Ryan plans to attend Purdue University after high school … “Boiler Up!”

To all our seniors:

Your parents, family, coaches, friends, and loyal fans congratulate you and thank you for a job well-done. We wish you all the best as you finish your swimming year, and in all of your future endeavors. As you embark upon a new adventure in life, remember that “Success is a Journey and not a Destination”.