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Posted on Fri. Feb. 22, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

Carrying state secrets

Carroll senior keeps goals quiet but wants to have fun

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State finals

Where: IUPUI, Indianapolis

When: 6 p.m. today; 9 a.m. diving, semifinals; 1 p.m. finals, Saturday

Admission: $8 per session or $12 both days

FORT WAYNE — Carroll senior swimmer Blaine Nichols is keeping his goals for the state finals pretty simple and somewhat private.

“My goals for the postseason include having a great experience at state, other than that I am going to keep my major goals within my team,” he said.

“I am looking to have an unforgettable meet. Whatever happens I have worked my butt off day in and day out and cannot possibly be mad with the outcome at state. I will be going faster than I ever have, setting myself up for times that I have dreamed about since freshman year.”

Last year at the state finals, Nichols was fifth in the 100 breaststroke and ninth in the 200 IM.

Nichols, a team captain, won a sectional title last Saturday at the South Side Sectional in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.34) and is seeded 12th at this weekend’s state finals at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. He also finished second in the 200 IM (1:56.51) and is seeded No. 22 at state.

He has been ranked in the top five this season in the 100 breaststroke and top 10 in the 200 IM.

The Indiana University recruit has been named to the All-NHC first team for four years and holds multiple school and conference records.

Nichols’ coach, John Gibson, said the four-year state qualifier has done what it takes to steadily improve over the years.

“Blaine pushes himself not only every day, but in every training set, every training repeat we do,” Gibson said. “He is one of the most focused, dedicated, hard working, self-motivated athletes I have ever coached and is constantly looking for ways to improve, whether it’s through dry-land, weight training or stroke technique. Blaine is very coachable and always open to trying new things.”

At swimmer since the age of 4, the four-year letter-winner didn’t get serious in the sport until high school.

“I started swimming in order to learn how to swim with some friends of my family,” he said. “A year later I decided that I wanted to swim as something more than recreation, and so I joined Three Rivers Aquatic Club.

“I loved the sport of swimming through middle school, but it was not until I achieved my first national cut that I truly had an immense passion for the sport. Since then, I have strived to be the best I can be.”

Nichols’ long swim career has resulted in only one injury, a groin problem a couple of years ago as a sophomore.

“It wasn’t a long recovery time, and it only aided in my passion for swimming,” he said.

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