GREENFIELD — Hancock County has witnessed its fair share of athletics success during the past decade, and although there are no state titles to date, few squads have been as dominant as the Greenfield-Central boys’ swim team.
The Cougars, who are off to a perfect 4-0 start in dual meets this season, are showing no signs of slowing down, either, and are in search of their sixth-straight sectional title. Led by a core group of upperclassmen and talented youth, Greenfield-Central is anticipating another deep and successful postseason showing.
The team placed fifth this past weekend at the Hamilton Southeastern Splash N’ Clash against some of the stiffest competition in the state. Sophomore Zach Cook broke his own school record in the 100 yard butterfly, winning two events while senior Jordan Cermak also earned a first place finish.
Behind Cook and Cermak, Greenfield-Central is loaded with talent from top to bottom.
Coach Mark Logan said the Cougars, who are 3-0 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference, learned a great deal about themselves this past weekend.
“It (Splash N’ Clash) allows us to really compare ourselves to other top athletes who have the same goals and see where we may still need to improve,” he said. “It is also a nice confidence booster and motivator going into Christmas training, which is typically hardest training of the season.”
Greenfield-Central began the season with a win at Franklin Central then piled three straight victories against HHC opponents. The team racked up more than 125 points in every win.
Cook said it was exciting to break his record again, especially against the best competition in the state. He beat last year’s state champion in the 100-yard butterfly. Logan noted how records typically aren’t broken at this particular point in the season, which makes the feat even more impressive.
“Racing last year’s champion was great because he pushed me in the race, and it was a good indicator of what else there is for me to improve on the rest of the season,” Cook said, who spent much of his summer improving his underwater and stroke counts.
His impressive weekend performance (a second win in the 100 yard backstroke) stole the attention of others, Logan said. And although only a second-year varsity swimmer, Logan said Cook leads like a senior. He has been an added bonus to already deep and devoted veteran group.
“Zach Cook, like a lot of our core group, does a great job at creating an environment in practice where success is inevitable for these swimmers,” Logan said. “However, it does not end there. He applies this same mentality to everything he does: school work, weight room, summer employment and extracurricular activities.
“Zach is most definitely a racer. When you can create this consistency, his future potential is limitless.”
Cermak, who won the 100 yard freestyle Saturday, said Logan deserves most of the credit for the program’s success. His positive coaching style has been well received by the entire team, making members eager to work hard in practice.
“He has very organized ideas to improve our speed and maintain the strength and endurance throughout the duration of the race,” Cermak said. “Mark tells us constantly that each person has a strong role on the success of the team and keeps the morals and mental attitude of everyone high.”
That organization has allowed Cermak, Cook and others to thrive this season. Against Mt. Vernon last week, Cermak won two events and was apart of two winning relays. This success isn’t new, as he won the 50 yard free style at the sectional meet last season.
However, he has his eyes set on multiple blue ribbons come tournament time this year.
“One of my main weak points in my races would be my starts and turns,” Cermak said. “Luckily, we are working diligently to fix those prior to conference, sectionals and state.”
Junior Allen Forbes; senior Jared Tomer; and sophomores Austin Payne, Ethan Kile and Chris Joven join Cook and Cermak as the key group responsible for the team’s hot start. Senior Jacob Keener has been dominant in diving, as well.
Tomer won two sectional titles in the 200 and 500 yard freestyles at New Palestine last season, while Kile was second in the 200 yard individual medley. Forbes finished second in the 100 yard backstroke and Cook finished first in the 100 yard butterfly.
Guys like sophomores Cameron Rader and Keegan Hite, who did not swim in the sectional meet last season, have added key depth and are helping the team score points too, Logan said.
From here, though, Greenfield-Central will take the next two weeks to get back to the basics, working on technique and how it will integrate into advanced training, Logan said. Although, so far so good.
“We keep to our plan, it seems to be doing well so far,” he said.