Hall of Fame Swim Coach ‘Stable’ After Car Crash with Semitractor Trailor

Retired Chesterton High School swim coach Kevin Kinel is is in stable condition after being involved in a car crash that resulted in him being airlifted to a hospital with a head injury. The incident happened at 10:49 AM on Sunday.

According to an official post on the Chesterton, Indiana Facebook page, Kinel was driving his Jeep Cherokee when he was broadsided by a truck pulling a semitractor-trailer. The trucker, Artur Panov, 27, of Florida, was cited for failing to stop at a red light.

Kinel was airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospital.

Panov was hauling prefabricated metal on a flatbed trailer.

According to the Chesterton Police Department, Panov was northbound on Ind. 49 when he saw the traffic signal change from green to red, then “applied his brakes.” Saying that he realized that “he was not going to be able to stop” and “began to blow the horn to warn other drivers he was not going to be able to stop for the red light,” the CPD said.

Kinel was driving eastbound on East Porter Ave., and as Panov entered the intersection, his rig struck Kinel’s Jeep Cherokee on the passenger’s side, the CPD said.

A witness eastbound and directly behind Kinel’s Jeep “confirmed that the light for eastbound traffic was green” and advised investigators that “the semi did not appear to stop until he collided with” the Jeep,” the CPD said.

Panov tested negative for drugs or alcohol.

Kinel retired in 2019 after over 40 years with the Chesterton High School boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving programs.

Kinel first started assisting at Chesterton in 1976 while coaching with the Duneland Swim Club. In 1980, Kinel stepped up as the head boys’ and girls’ coach for Chesterton. Since then, Kinel has produced the most dominant program in Northwest Indiana.

Among the programs’ noteworthy alumni are 6-time Indiana State Champion Jenni Anderson, National High School Record breaker and 12-time Indiana State Champion Kyle Whitaker, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Blake Pieroni.

In total, his athletes won 51 IHSAA State Championships in individual and relay events, set 18 High School State Records, and broke six National Public High School Records. His girls’ teams won 20 consecutive conference and sectional titles, while his boys’ teams won 21 total of each plus four team State Championships (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014). His girls’ team was the state runners up in 2017.

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

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Tom Johnson
6 months ago

An outstanding coach, and an outstanding human being. Prayers for a full recovery!

NM Coach
6 months ago


Mike Anderson
6 months ago

Amazing coach, best speed on your recovery Kevin!

6 months ago

Prayers for full recovery
Kevin is a great guy!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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