By Mark Ambrogi
When Victor Martin started swimming for Flashes Aquatics, he and his parents asked assistant coach Maddisen Lantz if she could help him become a state champion.
“I looked at them and said, ‘Yeah absolutely let’s do it,’” Lantz said. “Victor has made huge strides in his swimming over the past year.”
In the summer of 2021, Martin was cracking the top 10 in all his events but wasn’t one of the top three swimmers. Then in the winter, he stepped up and was in the top three in the state in all his events but one and won the state title in the 100-yard backstroke in March.
“We had successfully made him a state champion, but Victor didn’t want to stop there,” Lantz said.
Martin,10, won six individual events in the 10-and-under group at the state long course meet July 22-24 at IUPUI. The Franklin Township’s Kitley Intermediate School fifth grader represented Team Indiana Aug. 4-6 in the Central Zone Championships at Elkhart, Ind. He was the high point winner, winning the 100-meter freestyle, 200 freestyle and 50 butterfly. He placed second in the 50 backstroke and 100 backstroke and third in 50 freestyle.
“The thing that impresses me the most about Victor is his mindset,” Lantz said. “He wants to be good and understands at 10 years old what it is going to take to become good. He is the hardest worker I have ever met at his age. He talks openly with me about his goals and what he wants to accomplish. Swimming is a very mental sport. If you are able to control your thoughts and mindset you will be successful at this sport. Victor is able to work hard and have a positive mindset and that alone is going to help him continue to grow.”
Martin, who started swimming when he was 6 years old, said he has made the most improvement in the 200 freestyle.
His favorite events are 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly.
Martin said Flashes Aquatics head coach Dalton Herendeen and Lantz have helped his development in different ways.
“Dalton has worked a lot on my technique,” Martin said. “Maddisen has been giving me super hard sets that have made me cry sometimes because they are so tough,” Martin said. Martin said he has built up his stamina with those tough practices.
“I was able to do more events in a meet without getting tired,” he said.
Martin said his next goal is to get the age 11-12 state and zone cuts in times for short course and long course.
Herendeen said Martin is the first state champion for the Flashes Aquatics in any age group.
Herendeen, who had his left leg amputated shortly after he was born because of a blood clot, competed in the Paralympics in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Herendeen and Lanz were swimmers at Elkhart Concord High School and University of Indianapolis.
When Herendeen, 29, took over Flashes Aquatics in the fall of 2018, the club’s 14-and-under swimmers went from 36th the previous year to 31st in state in combined boys and girls scores in the state meet. In 2019, Flashes Aquatics went to 28th. In 2021, the team was 24th and moved up to 18th this year.
“In the four years I’ve been here, we continue to get better and better,” Herendeen said.
In 2018, Herendeen said there were 70 to 80 swimmers in the program. In the fall/winter season of 2021-22, there were 180 swimmers and approximately 150 this spring and summer.
“Some families will do both seasons, some will do fall/winter, and some will do summer,” Herendeen said.
Registration recently opened for this fall for evaluations.
“If they are not ready for the swim team, we offer lessons,” Herendeen said.
To register, visit ftswimming.org.