Boys Swimmer of the Year

A History Making Athenian

Cville’s Whitman Horton’s State Finals podium finish earns him JR Boys Swimmer of the Year


Crawfordsville junior Whitman Horton has dedicated himself to the pool. After a successful sophomore season in which he was able to swim in his first State Finals, Horton was ready for a breakout junior season and boy did he deliver. Horton ended his junior season as a top 10 swimmer in the state in two different events in the 100 backstroke and the 200 IM. His 6th place finish in the backstroke saw him stand on the podium, making him the first CHS swimmer since Cam Hobson in 2007 to earn a podium finish.

“Crawfordsville swimming has produced many successful swimmers as far back as you want to go,” Horton said. “The main goal in my mind coming into the season was to uphold that tradition of excellence not only with myself but with the team. I learned a lot about being a leader this year because my position on the team was different. I have to give a lot of credit to our freshman and sophomores that stepped up and allowed us to have the overall team success that we did too.”

Horton routinely broke numerous records this season. First at the county meet this season he broke a pair of county records in two events swimming a 51.21 time in the 100 butterfly and then became the first male swimmer to swim below a minute in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.18.

Horton at the Conference Meet added his name to more records setting a county, school, and pool record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 50.88. Those records had stood since 1988 when Josh Mikesell swam for CHS. Then with the most important meet of the season to date at the sectional, Horton went 4-4 as he helped lead the Athenians to their third consecutive sectional title.

With all of the history that Horton made this season, it’s only fitting the he is crowned as the 2022-23 Journal Review Boys Swimmer of the Year.

Crawfordsville coach Kevin Hedrick noted the exact moment that he knew that he had a special swimmer rising through the ranks for the Athenians.

“Last summer when he got his first future’s cut at senior state is when we realized that there was something special there with him,” Hedrick said. “We talk about club swimming and how important it is and he just continues on after the high school season is over. That future’s cut was one of the goals that he had and that put him on the path towards elite-hood.”

The off-season preparation that Horton does allows him to already have a leg up on most swimmers. The first step in the off-season began for Horton not even in pool really. It began by watching others.

“A lot of people have told me that it’s important to be a student of the sport,” Horton said. “Coach and I talked about that and I really learned how the best of the best do what they do. I did my best to implement that into my training. There’s a lot of information out there that I used pretty significantly. It was a process of figuring out how I could get from where I was then to where I wanted to be now.”

With Horton’s dominant season and high expectations and goals for himself, he’s been able to achieve all of the goals he’s set out for. Something that Hedrick has always preached for all of his swimmers and teams is “the destination” and the stops along those destinations.

“We really started to make plans off of that future’s cut,” Hedrick said. “After he got that first cut, everything started to snowball for him and the journey has become more clear with him. We’re starting to have really narrow goals and carve out a path that if he keeps on it looks very promising. One of the best things with Whit is that he is the example to our other young guns that there is a reward for the dedication and hard work.”

Now that the dust has settled since the State Finals for Horton, he’s had some time to sit back and reflect on the experience of being able to stand on the podium knowing he was one of the state’s best. Wearing the Athenian logo on his cap and being able to represent his school is something that he took very seriously.

“It gave me a sense of pride to be able to accomplish what I did with a Crawfordsville cap on,” Horton said. “With being a representative of the school and the team, I take great pride in that. To swim in the finals I was super excited because there wasn’t any real stress I felt like.”

Horton and Hedrick have even bigger things in store for his senior season. With his drive and determination along with his talent, it’s safe to say the sky might be the limit for the history making Athenian.

“Whit has a very keen sense of awareness of where he’s at, where he’s been, and where he’s going,” Hedrick said. “What’s great about him is that he’s so humble and thankful for everything that has come his way. We’re always looking forward to what’s next and looking at next year the same we did this year. The more hard work he puts in and the more he studies, the better chances are of having improvement.”

Horton knows while his accomplishments have every reason to be celebrated, there’s always more.

“The work is never done,” he said with a smile. “I’ve got one more year to see what can happen. I know it’ll be a fun ride with whatever is in store.”

Horton has all the tools to surpass what he did this past season. Crawfordsville very well might be looking at one of the most accomplished swimmers in school history when all is said and done.


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