INDIANAPOLIS – The most recognizable face at the IHSAA Boys State Swimming and Diving Finals never once dove into the pool.
For the past four years, Zionsville senior Vaugn Mihok has been the “sign guy” at the IHSAA Swimming and Diving finals, leading out the parade of champions before each finals race and hyping up the crowds before the start.
“He is one of the most positive people that I have met in my entire life,” Zionsville head coach Scott Kubly said. “He never has a bad day. The IHSAA has their ‘Face of Sportsmanship’ campaign, and there is not a better example of that than Vaugn Mihok.”
Saturday at the boys state meet was the last time Mihok will be leading out the finalists to the blocks.
He will graduate from Zionsville in May and then plans on attending UMass-Amherst to study economics.
Mihok said one of the best parts of the last four years was getting to interact with the other teams and officials from around the state, and having them recognize him the more he did it.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Mihok said. “Coaches that I would have never met before come up to me and they are like ‘oh, you’re the sign guy.’ I have to give a shout out to the Chesterton and Carroll girls teams, they always get really excited when I do the signs.”
Mihok was honored midway through the meet on Saturday, and was given the 50-yard freestyle sign from the state meet that was signed by officials working the meet.
Mihok said that his favorite memory from working the state meets was when former teammate Jack Franzman dressed as Spider-Man to come out for the 50-yard freestyle in 2017 and that’s why that sign meant more to him.
Mihok started doing the signs during that season in the sectional, when Kubly asked if he wanted to do it.
He said at the time, he didn’t know it would be something he would end up doing the next four years at the state meet, but wanted to have fun with it.
“I figured why not, it seemed like fun,” Mihok said. “After that it just stuck. I really liked doing it and I think it’s fun to get the crowds engaged for swim meets. I think it does help some times for the swimmers.”
It hasn’t just been at the State Meet that Mihok has helped raise the energy levels.
He does it for Zionsville all year long, whether it be in practices or dual meets.
“It definitely helps,” Kubly said. “You can see it here where he is fist-bumping and high-fiving other coaches, athletes and officials. That’s what he does. That’s him and he is definitely the heartbeat of our team.”
Mihok first started getting involved with swimming after watching his sister Kylie growing up.
“I always had to go to her practices and meets because I was so young,” Mihok said. “Finally, I just decided to join the team so I didn’t just have to sit in the stands and watch the whole time.”
Kubly said that Mihok is a perfect example of what swimming is meant to be about.
He was never part of a conference or sectional roster, but he came in every day, worked hard, and was a valuable member of the team in his own way.
“You get out of it what you put into it,” Kubly said. “He has worked hard over his four years and definitely improved. What is cool about swimming in general, you don’t have to be the best to have some sort of contribution to the team.”
Mihok said being part of the Eagles was a gigantic part of his high school experience, and something that he will always remember.
“The team aspect has been awesome,” Mihok said. “I have so many great memories starting from my freshman year all the way to my senior year. Really just the bond of swimming, and especially Zionsville swimming, has been awesome. It’s a great team atmosphere with the swimmers and coaches and we just have a great time. It’s really unexplainable bond.”