Zionsville Community High School sophomore Devon Kitchel couldn’t stop smiling, for good reason.
Kitchel was the only swimmer to win two individual events in the Feb. 15 IHSAA Girls Swimming & Diving State Finals at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Kitchel won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:59.47 and the 100 butterfly in 54.04.
“I had so much fun at this meet,” Kitchel said. “I really wasn’t too worried about placing. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. I was proud of our team. In general, we all got behind each other and did our best.”
Kitchel was seeded No. 1 in both events from the Feb. 14 preliminaries.
“In swimming, it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure,” Kitchel said. “But I talked to my teammates and coaches about enjoying the moment, staying loose and doing the best that I can.”
Kitchel was pleased with her showing in both races.
“I think in the IM I felt a bit more in control throughout the race,” Kitchel said.
As a freshman, Kitchel finished 10th in the 200 IM and 11th in the 100 butterfly in the state finals.
“Freshman year I really got caught up with the pressure of the seedings and what my time was going to be,” she said. “This year, I just wanted to have fun and see how fast I could go. I don’t think (winning) has sunk in yet.”
Kitchel was on Zionsville’s third-place 400 freestyle relay and sixth-place 200 medley relay.
“Individual events are great, but swimming with three of your best friends, going fast all together, is awesome,” she said.
Zionsville coach Scott Kubly said Kitchel is the team’s first girls swimmer to win two individual titles in the state finals.
“She had a great weekend,” said Kubly, whose team placed seventh. “She’s a great leader, works hard in the pool and we’re lucky to have her for two more years.”
Eagles junior Elyse Heiser placed fourth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 200 freestyle and joined Kitchel on both relays.