FOR THE DAILY REPORTER
INDIANAPOLIS — Although the chances of a team dethroning 28-time defending state champion Carmel are practically non-existent, the experience acquired by Hancock County swimmers in Friday’s preliminary round of the IHSAA Girls State Swimming and Diving Meet was invaluable to the future.
While none of the contingent from Mt. Vernon or Greenfield-Central advanced to the Saturday finals, both teams accumulated a wealth of experience and perhaps the keys to build winning programs.
A year ago, Greenfield-Central’s swimming season ended at this time.
On Saturday, Cougars swimming coach Emily Logan had two swimmers — sophomores Krista Zornes and Kortney Hodnett in Friday’s state action.
“This is the very first time both made it, and it felt good,” Logan said. “There were jitters but (the meet) left them both hungry for more.”
Zornes finished 32nd in the 100 freestyle, while Hodnett took 31st in the 100 breaststroke. Hodnett, while happy to be a state qualifier rookie, wasn’t too happy with her time, but Logan said she had been sick for most of the week.
“This was a hard meet,” Hodnett said. “I wasn’t exactly happy with my times, but this was fun and I most definitely want to return (here) and do better.”
Mt. Vernon’s contingent was also hopeful of a good showing, but 200 medley relay team of Gloria Gonzales, Samantha Case, Lydia Tierney and Haley Moore couldn’t advance to the Saturday session. They placed 31st.
Tierney, only a freshman, also received her first taste of the state finals experience as she placed 24th overall in the 200 individual medley and 30th in the 100 butterfly.
She swam a little over her seed times in both events. Gonzalez, a junior, was 30th in the 100 backstroke.
Still, Mt. Vernon coach Matt Kruse was pleased with his team’s effort and believes this is something he can build on and make future state appearances.
“They were ready to go,” Kruse said. “The times weren’t quite like they were in the sectional, but overall I think they swam well.”
Kruse also indicated a lot of his team was sick with a virus that might have hindered performances, but he wasn’t making excuses.
“Things didn’t quite add up (Friday), but we’re all going to learn together and swim faster. This was the first time at state for a lot of these girls and they will get better.”