Eagles News · History Flashback – 1966 Boys Swimming and Diving State Champions


With no sports going on right now, we decided to bring you content highlighting the rich history of John Adams Athletics.

Our first flashback takes us to the first State Championship that John Adams won – the 1966 Boys Swimming and Diving team.

We hope you enjoy this flashback in time and we look forward to bringing you more content soon!

A PDF copy of his article is available for download as well at 1966 Boys Swimming & Diving State Champions


1966 Boys Swimming and Diving State Champions

During the 1960s, there was no team more dominant at the local and state level than the John Adams Boys Swimming and Diving team. It was the Boys Swimming and Diving team that brought John Adams its first of eight IHSAA State Championships.

The 1966 Boys Swimming and Diving team finished with one of the most impressive records in the history of the school. The Eagles finished the season without a single loss. Adams finished with a perfect 14-0 record in dual meets and as City, Northern Indiana Conference, Sectional, and State Champions.

The State Championships, held in 1966 at Royer Pool on the campus of Indiana University, featured some of the best talent in the history of swimming in the state up to that point. John Adams would come out on top as the State Champions, winning with a team score of 61 points, capping off the perfect season. Adams had an impressive roster at the State Championships. Fourteen individuals and two relays represented John Adams as State Qualifiers.

Adams had a total of 11 medalists in the meet, including two individual championships and five runner up finishes.

Adams Medalists – 1966 IHSAA State Championships

200 Medley Relay – 2nd Place

200 Individual Medley – Mike Fitzgerald – 1st Place

Diving – John Lichtenfels  – 1st Place

Diving – Gary Gibboney – 3rd place

100 Butterfly – Michael Zablocki – 2nd Place

100 Butterfly – Thomas Schrager – 5th Place

100 Backstroke – Paul Goetz – 2nd Place

400 Freestyle – Mike Fitzgerald – 2nd Place

400 Freestyle – William Fitzgerald – 4th Place

100 Breaststroke – Michael Nova – 4th place

400 Freestyle Relay – 2nd Place 

Individual State Champions

The meet featured 8 new State Records, and Adams set two of those – Mike Fitzgerald in the 200 Individual Medley and John Lichtenfels in Diving.

Fitzgerald took the top of the podium in the 200 Individual Medley, winning in a time of 2:05.0. Taking first in Diving, Lichtenfels set a new State Record of 396.40.

The finishes from Fitzgerald and Lichtenfels earned both All American honors.

In his career, Fitzgerald won three individual State Championships including his 200 Medley title in 1966 and two individual titles during his Senior season in 1968, taking wins in the 200 Freestyle and 400 Freestyle. Fitzgerald was inducted into the Indiana High School Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lichtenfels’ only State Championship was during the 1966 season but he had an impressive career, including 2 Sectional Championships and a medal in Diving at the 1965 State Championships.

Sectional Champions

At the Sectional Meet on February 12 at SB Washington HS, John Adams finished as the team champions. The Eagles won with a team score of 110 points. Adams’ Mike Fitzgerald was the leading individual scorer in the meet, scoring 14 points for the Eagles. Adams won 6 individual championships and 1 relay championship on their way to the team title.

Adams won the following Sectional Championships

Scott Madison 200 Freestyle

Michael Fitzgerald 200 Medley

John Lichtenfels Diving

Michel Zablocki 100 Butterfly

Paul Goetz 100 Backstroke

Michael Fitzgerald 400 Freestyle

200 Medley Relay P. Goetz, R. Rosenstein, M. Zablocki, J. Hauflaire

Northern Indiana Conference Champions

Besides winning the Sectional Championship and State Championship, John Adams also won the 1965-1966 Northern Indiana Conference Championship as well. The championship was the sixth team conference championship won by the Eagles in program history. Adams finished the conference schedule with a perfect 8-0 record.

The Eagles had regular season conference wins against Goshen, Elkhart, Michigan City, SB Riley, Mishawaka, LaPorte, SB Central, and SB Washington.

At that time in conference history, it was the regular season record that determined the conference championship. Adams also finished as the 1966 Northern Indiana Conference Championship Meet champions, but the meet did not weigh in in the final standings as it does today.

Unlike today in the NIC, there was no “All Conference” team recognized in the 1960s. It was not until the 1978-1979 season that all sports in the NIC began to recognize an All Conference roster. Without a doubt, John Adams would have been well represented on the All Conference roster if one was in existence that season.

Eagles Finish Perfect Regular Season

John Adams finished the season with a perfect record. In dual meets, the Eagles finished 14-0. In most meets, the Eagles dominated their opponents.

Date

Opponent

Adams

Opponent

December 2

Goshen

55

37

December 7

SB Jackson

59

36

December 10

Elkhart

62

30

December 11

Valparaiso

63

32

December 16

Penn

64

31

December 17

Michigan City

61

25

December 18

Freshman/Sophomore SB City Meet

1st

January 7

SB Riley

61

34

January 11

SB LaSalle

62

32

January 14

Mishawaka

65

28

January 18

St Joseph (Michigan)

68

27

January  22

Culver

58

37

January 26

LaPorte

59

35

January 28

SB Central

58

37

January 29

SB City Meet

1st

February 1

SB Washington

53

41

February 5

NIC Meet

1st

February 12

Sectional

1st – 110 points

February 12

IHSAA State Meet

1st – 61 points

Championship Coach Don Coar

According to the John Adams Album from 1966, Coach Don Coar had set his sights on winning a state championship from the moment he took over the program in the 1961 season. Within those first few seasons, John Adams was well on their way to achieving that goal. The Eagles finished as the State Runner Ups in 1962, 1963, and 1964 before reaching the pinnacle in 1966. Adams won three state championships in a row under Coach Coar in 1966, 1967, 1968.

Under Coach Coar, Adams won six straight Sectional Championships (1963-1968), three State Championships (1966. 1967, 1968), six Northern Indiana Conference Championships (1964-1969), four South Bend City Championships (1965-1968) and had eight top 10 finishes at the IHSAA State Championships between 1962-1969.

Coach Coar was inducted into the Indiana High School Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 2007.