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Posted on Thu. Jul. 31, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Blackhawk preparing to try defending City Swim Meet titles

More than 1,000 swimmers will compete at South Side

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Results on Sunday night

The News-Sentinel will have complete results of the City Swim Meet listing the top eight finishers in each race posted online after the event Sunday evening.

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The ironic thing about last summer's City Swim Meet, is that Blackhawk coach Chris Knoblauch originally thought his team had lost.

That's how close the final outcome was as Blackhawk and Orchard Ridge Country Club raced all the way through the final relay to determine a winner. Blackhawk won by 11 points in the closest margin in the meet's 52-year history.

No one knows if this year's meet will be as close, but everyone is preparing as if it will be. The meet at South Side's Brown Natatorium starts with the preliminary rounds at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the 8-and-younger divisions, followed by the 11-12 and 15-and-over preliminaries at 8 a.m. Saturday with the 9-10 and 13-14 preliminaries beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The finals for all age groups start at 1 p.m. Sunday. The march-in parade starts at 11:30 a.m. Admission is free.

There's probably no more colorful or louder event in Fort Wayne each summer. Every year, more than 1,000 screaming kids have their faces painted and wear funny hats and costumes for the march-in before the finals.

The Bill Close Award for a volunteer will be awarded for the first time, honoring the former long-time meet director who retired last year.

Usually the swim title is decided by depth as much as quality. The larger teams earn lots of points by placing as many swimmers as possible in the top eight of each event. That's how Blackhawk won for the first time very last year.

"We try and focus on our team concept," Knoblauch said. "The kids that are going to just make finals, those are the kids who we really look forward to because we're not guaranteed those points, and we need those points."

There's been plenty of depth at every Blackhawk practice this season as the team prepares to try defending the title. Last year was a surprise, but this year there's more expectations, especially from the swimmers themselves.

"It's been a lot of pressure this year, which is a good thing, not a bad thing," he said. "I think last year a lot of kids didn't expect to win. This year they keep talking about winning and it's put more pressure on the team.

"Their dedication and their team philosophy has really helped them. In previous years the team aspect was still there, but they now understand that each and every one of them is important."

Blackhawk already has momentum heading into the meet as the pool won the City Dive Meet last weekend.

bsebring@news-sentinel.com


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