BY CHAD DARE
Jon Delzell and Parker Arnholt have been teammates for nearly a decade.
On Saturday afternoon, the Danville High seniors enjoyed their final home meet of their careers as the Vikings defeated Charleston and Champaign St. Thomas More in a triangular meet.
And for Delzell, it was the perfect ending as he won all four of his events, but more important, he claimed a pool record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.17 seconds.
“I feel great — really great,’’ Delzell said. “It really means a lot. There is only one other Danville swimmer with a pool record, and that’s Cody Showers (in the 100 butterfly). I really looked up to him as a swimmer, so it’s nice to be on that side of the board.’’
And, the senior still has his sights set on another mark.
“I actually came into today thinking that I was going to break both the school and the pool records,’’ said Delzell as the best time for a Danville High swimmer in the 50 free is 22.00 seconds.
“I thought I swam fast enough,’’ he said. “I know that I’m going to swim faster before this season is over.
“My best races are still ahead of me.’’
According to Danville coach Carl Long, it was very fitting that Delzell got the pool record in his final opportunity.
“Jon is an ultra competitive kid and he’s had some unfortunate things happen to him this year,’’ said Long, noting that the senior sustained a minor shoulder injury earlier this year. “We were hoping that he was going to set it in the first meet of the year, but it didn’t happen until the last meet.
“It’s about performing when it counts and he did that today.’’
And while the record was important, Delzell admitted the best part of Saturday was getting to enjoy senior day with Arnholt.
“We’ve been swimming together since we were 8 years old,’’ he said. “He’s been my teammate every year since then and it was special to finish out our careers together.’’
Arnholt, who won the 500 freestyle and was a member of the Vikings winning 400 relay team with Delzell, admitted that Saturday was special because he didn’t know what his future holds in swimming.
“This is probably my last home meet for a while,’’ he said. “I’m probably going to take a year off, so it was kind of important to me to finish strong.’’
He was shooting for a personal best in the 500 freestyle, but his time of 5 minutes, 43.31 seconds came up short.
“I was like five seconds off,’’ he said. “But, I didn’t swim well last week and I did today.
“Hopefully, I will keep getting better in these final weeks to get that record.’’
Long said that Arnholt has done everything a coach could ask for out of a senior leader.
“Parker is a class act,’’ Long said. “I’m real happy with the way he has performed at Danville High School, not only in the pool but also in the classroom.’’
This week, the Vikings begin the critical stretch drive with the Big 12 Championships set for Normal Community this Saturday and the IHSA Sectional Meet is Saturday, Feb. 16.
“I think we are in better shape this year than we were a year ago,’’ Arnholt said. “In the past, we would do really good for a couple of weeks and then fall off. This year, we have been progressing each week and I think we are really ready for these final meets.’’
Delzell wasn’t the only Viking to get four event victories on Saturday.
Lucas Miller won both the 100 butterfly and 100 breast stroke races, along with being on Danville’s winning 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams.
“This year has been outstanding, we’ve had numerous guys get best times in every meet this year,’’ Delzell said. “Today, Lucas Miller got his best time ever in his 100 breast stroke. That was huge.’’
Other multiple event winners for the Vikings were Max Shannon, Jordan Ledesma, Tristan Wolfe and Logan McBee.
“I saw a lot of young kids swim their best times today,’’ Long said. “I saw some good races between some of our young kids, where we didn’t know which one was faster.’’